Buffalo Soldiers have inspired so many people down through the ages. These men, all African American soldiers, played an important role patrolling our borders, saving the lives of thousands of white pioneers, acting as facilitators and befriending the Native Americans. Mostly white officers commanded the Buffalo Soldiers - with just a very few exceptions.

Right here in San Francisco at the Veterans Cemetery, which is in the middle of the Presidio of San Francisco, lie over 600 Buffalo Soldiers. Among them a couple who won the Medal of Honor.

Buffalo Soldiers were not only good soldiers, they were excellent at road building and were instrumental in patrolling and writing the first Standard Operating Procedures linked to our National Parks - foremost among them being the Sequoia National Park on the West Coast.

San Francisco has a significant African American population but practically no one knows the role of the Buffalo Soldiers in the Bay Area and beyond. The Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at Fort Ord. We had a Zulu Prince who was a Buffalo Soldier and was stationed at Alcatraz Island. The 9th and 10th Cavalry the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments were all stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco.

While many remember the Buffalo soldiers riding their horses and having a close bond. Buffalo Soldiers also rode bicycles and some in the Bay Area remember those days.

The Buffalo Soldiers built a thousand-mile road from Northern Canada to Alaska. They also built one in Burma in the mountainous area. They took great care of our Parks and federal lands much before the National Park was formed in 1916.

African Americans first fought in the Civil War for very little money. Later they proved to be great fighters and the United States used African Americans but did not pay them the respect accorded White Soldiers. African Americans fought in every war - as did the Buffalo Soldier.

President Franklin Roosevelt could not have won his battles in Cuba had it not been for the Buffalo Soldiers. One of them was the Zulu Prince - well educated in Britain, he joined the Buffalo Soldiers and earned kudos, as did his fellow Buffalo Soldiers.

The Buffalo Soldiers were sent to the Philippines to fight the war there. The Philippines loved them so much that many stayed, as did many Buffalo Soldiers who went to Jamaica after the battle of San Juan in Cuba. Remember the Bob Marley song!

In the mountains of Europe the Buffalo Soldiers later integrated during World War II are fondly remembered. Recently some Buffalo Soldiers went to Italy where they were honored and showered with respect.

I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and always fascinated by the Buffalo Soldiers. In my own way, I do what I can to spread the word - love of the Buffalo Soldier. I have a collection of quality Buffalo Soldier photographs but what is most wonderful - I am in touch with many living Buffalo Soldiers.

Once a year in the month of February, the shortest month of the year - I will organize an event and honor the Buffalo Soldiers at the Presidio of San Francisco. Veterans go to the near by Veterans Cemetery and honor each Buffalo Soldier with a flag. In this particular cemetery the Buffalo Soldiers are buried with fellow soldiers - without any discrimination. I like that.

In 1995 with Smithy who was in charge of the Presidio Veterans Cemetery we planted many trees honoring the Buffalo Soldiers. We did this without any fanfare but we thought, "Hey man, time to do it our way," and felt good that the Buffalo Soldiers too would have appreciated our silent gesture. Today these trees stand tall - acacia trees all healthy and looking good.

At the Presidio of San Francisco right by the Lombard Gate the wooden buildings you see - are all Buffalo Soldiers buildings. The National Park Service will not admit that. In the middle of the Main Post you see a tall flag pole that is named after General Pershing - called Black Jack because he commanded the Black soldiers we know as Buffalo Soldiers. In the Fort Scott area at the Presidio of San Francisco is building 1682 - this is a Buffalo Soldier building too.

Our young African American women and men need role models and the Buffalo Soldiers could stand tall and perform well. The Buffalo Soldiers were loved - especially the Native Americans - who named them Buffalo Soldiers after the Buffalo, who is very sacred to the Native American.

There is a myth - that the Buffalo Soldiers killed the Native Americans. This is not true. There was a loving bond between the Buffalo Soldier and the Native American - many Buffalo Soldiers remained forever with the Tribes - that says it all. Time and time again when Native American surrendered - not a single Native American was harmed. Remember the surrender of Geronimo!

Hollywood has always screwed things up and the image of the Buffalo Soldier portrayed in the movies is a joke and that includes the one -by Danny Glover. Historians like Anthony Powell have studied the facts and acquired genuine memorabilia to keep the memory of the Buffalo Soldiers alive. Please visit Anthony Powell's http://www.portraitsinblack.com.

My website has done its best thanks to Joel Skidmore and a host of great men like David Wilkins and of course Anthony Powell. There was even a Buffalo Soldier woman and this web site has an article on her. Espanola Jackson an African American woman and activist loves the Buffalo Soldiers.

America has NOT been fair to the Buffalo Soldier just like it has not been fair to Jazz. Europe has in all honesty - showered the Buffalo Soldier with respect. General Colin Powell was instrumental in collecting money and erecting a Buffalo Soldier monument at Fort Leventhworth.

Time the Presidio of San Franciso builds a monument to honor the hundreds of Buffalo Soldiers who worked and died at the Presidio of San Francisco. I was promised by the Presidio Trust that this year - 2002 would be the year and I hope they keep their word.

As for the National Park Service they have done nothing much. The NPS is in the business of protection and preservation, but they have chosen to shun the history of African Americans - time and time again. And that includes the "Underground Railroad". Honorable mention must be made of John Reynolds who is white but has his heart in the right place.

I love horses and so did the Buffalo Soldiers. I often visit a Buffalo Solider who is in his 90's and lives in San Francisco - Mr. Moore. I also visit Mr. Hobson who lives in Vallejo. Both of them love horses and have told me many stories which I have recorded. This fight to keep the memory of the Buffalo Soldiers is not easy - but then we know - anything that is worth while is worth fighting for - the Buffalo Soldiers keep my spirits up they whisper and tell me "Buffalo Soldiers never die they just fade away!" I like that.

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