Buffalo Soldiers Day in the United States Date in the current year: July 28, 2024

Buffalo Soldiers Day in the United States Buffalo Soldiers Day, sometimes referred to as National Buffalo Soldiers Day, is observed annually on July 28. It was created to honor the first African-American regiments of the United States Army that were formed in 1866.

African Americans participated in every war fought in or by the United States, starting with the American War of Independence, where they served on both sides of the conflict. Following the independence of the United States, African Americans fought in the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War. During the Civil War, free Blacks and runaway slaves served in the Union Army, whereas the Confederate Army used African Americans for labor.

The precursors to the first all-Black regiments were the United States Colored Troops, created during the Civil War. They were composed primarily of African-American soldiers but also included members of other minorities. The first peacetime African-American units in the US Army were created during the Indian Wars. The bill authorizing the establishment of Black cavalry and infantry regiments passed on July 28, 1866. These regiments soon became known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

The nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” was allegedly given to members of the 10th Cavalry Regiment by Native Americans who fought against them. It eventually became synonymous with all all-Black regiments that were authorized in 1866 along with the 10th Cavalry Regiment: the 9th Cavalry Regiment, the 24th Infantry Regiment, the 25th Infantry Regiment, and the second 38th Infantry Regiment.

After the end of the Indian Wars, the Buffalo Soldiers continued to serve, playing an important role in nearly all major wars fought in or by the United States. The African-American regiments participated in the Johnson County War, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, the Mexican Border War, the First World War, and the Second World War.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to end racial segregation in the military. Most Black regiments were integrated with white troops, but the 24th Infantry Regiment remained predominantly African-American throughout the Korean War.

There are monuments to Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Leavenworth, where the 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed, and Junction City in Kansas, as well as the Buffalo Soldier Museum in Houston, Texas. In 1992, the United States Congress passed a law designating July 28 as Buffalo Soldiers Day. On this day, various organizations that support Black veterans hold commemorative events to pay tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers, recognize the contributions of Black service members, and raise awareness of racism in the military.

You can observe Buffalo Soldiers Day by learning more about the Buffalo Soldiers and the role of minorities in the military, laying flowers at a Buffalo Soldiers monument, attending a commemorative event honoring the Buffalo Soldiers, and posting on social media with the hashtag #BuffaloSoldiersDay to spread the word and encourage more people to honor their legacy.

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