Today, our diversity council sponsored a presntation by a living-history Buffalo Soldiers group for Black History Month. The Buffalo Soldiers were four infantry and two calvary divisions of the US army formed in 1866. The first Black regular army soldiers (the ones that fought in the Civil War were volunteers), the divisions were sent to the Western frontier to fight in the Indian Wars, since the white folks back East were a little leery of having whole divisions of armed, trained Black men in the area.
The troops built forts; guarded settlers, railroads, and even the Wells Fargo stagecoaches; drove illegal settlers out of Native American territory; and fought against the tribes in the area (although they never participated in any of the infamous massacres). They got their name from some of the tribes in the area–buffalo were the most respected of animals, with immense strength and endurance, and with a similar hairdo. The Buffalo Soldiers were some of the most decorated soldiers in the West, and they had the lowest desertion rate of anyone in the army.
One of the calvary divisions, the 10th Calvary, continues to this day (although not segregated). It was disbanded for a while, but will shortly return to Colorado Springs.