Buffalo Soldier Day
The First African American Military Regiments in Texas
SAN ANTONIO – In observance of African American History Month, Buffalo Soldier Day will be hosted at the Institute of Texan Cultures from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, February 2, 2013. It is included with regular admission.
Buffalo Soldiers served as the first African American military companies following the Civil War. Derived from the U.S. 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments and the U.S. 24th & 25th Infantry Regiments, Buffalo Soldiers secured the frontiers of Texas and the American West during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Along with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Buffalo Soldiers Outreach Program and the Boerne Agricultural Heritage Museum, the Institute of Texan Cultures invites visitors to explore the lives of the Buffalo Soldiers, against the backdrop of the Back 40 living history exhibit.
Interacting with educators and historical interpreters, visitors will experience life in a frontier fort, learn surveying and scouting methods, handle artifacts used in the military life, and master the regimental duties of the Buffalo Soldiers.
“Buffalo Soldiers protected citizens from conflicts with Comanche and Apache bands along the Texas Frontier,” said Brandon Aniol, educational specialist at the Institute of Texan Cultures Back 40. “Also, they relied on the expertise of Black Seminole scouts. Buffalo Soldier Day will interpret the complex and delicate relationships these men cultivated, in a time that was largely undefined for African Americans.”
The Texas Frontier was often harsh and unforgiving, allowing little time for leisure. By the 1870s, baseball was quickly becoming the most popular game in America, with at least one club in every major city. When time permitted, even Buffalo Soldiers participated in baseball for entertainment. Buffalo Soldier Day will provide visitors the opportunity to participate in a 1870s game of baseball, between the Texas Parks & Wildlife Buffalo Soldiers Outreach Program and the Borne White Sox Vintage Base Ball club of the Boerne Agricultural Heritage Museum.
“The Institute of Texan Cultures invites visitors to experience a fuller, richer snapshot of Buffalo Soldiers and the post-Civil War advancements of African Americans,” said Aniol. “Military service created the opportunity for social mobility: literacy, horsemanship, and other skills they used to build successful lives.”
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.