February is Black History Month, a time to commemorate the contributions and achievements brought about by African Americans. If you’ve never heard of the Buffalo Soldiers, their trailblazing leader, or the work they did for our National Parks, then read on.
The Buffalo Soldiers
Made up of the 9th, 10th, 24th, and 25th Cavalries, the Buffalo Soldiers were the segregated regiments of the United States Army. For a time they were stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco, acting as President Theodore Roosevelt’s escort during a visit.
They served in numerous battles, but the men also did work at some of our National Parks. In 1899, the 24th was sent to Yosemite National Park, where they patrolled and protected the park. The 9th served as patrol in Sequoia National Parks in 1903. It could be said that they “were some of the first park rangers in the Sierra Nevada.”
In 1904, the 9th was stationed in Yosemite and during their stay they built an arboretum. Major John Bigelow was Acting Superintendent and wrote that the new addition was intended “to preserve not only the trees, but everything that is associated with them in nature."
Colonel Charles Young