We’ve all heard the Bob Marley song, though most people don’t know where the Buffalo Soldier name originates from. This day celebrates the very first African-American soldiers that came into formation in 1866. Of course it is something pretty grand to celebrate, though just how did this holiday come to be?
A History of Buffalo Soldiers Day
There were a few different African-American regiments during the civil war, the Buffalo Soldiers being one of the most prominent. Congress established them as the very first all-black peacetime regiments of the United States army. Some of the main tasks of the Buffalo Soldiers included protecting the national parks, managing the Native Americans on the plains, and protecting settlers, railroad crews, and stagecoaches along the western front.
It is still unknown why they were referred to as “buffalo soldiers”, though many believe that it had to do with their thick, dark hair that resembled buffalo fur. As 1950 rolled around, the United States army began de-segregating, therefore disbanding the buffalo soldiers. In 1992, the very first Buffalo Soldiers Day was celebrated with a Buffalo Soldier monument that was erected at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. From that day forward, there have been buffalo soldier celebrations all across the nation. There is likely one in your hometown.
The very last of the buffalo soldiers, Mark Matthews, died in 2005 at 111 years old.
How To Celebrate Buffalo Soldiers Day
The best way to celebrate Buffalo Soldiers Day is to find ways to pay tribute to these African-American heroes. Research and spread the word so that the legacy continues. There are a few museums with buffalo soldier exhibits around the United States as well, including the Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Tacoma, WA, the Buffalo Soldier Museum in Houston, TX, and the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, CA.
If you know that you’ll be around California that time of year, Yosemite has a wonderful Living History program, where park rangers band together to present the tale of the buffalo soldiers as it once was.
“There was a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America, stolen from Africa, brought to America, fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.”
- Bob Marley
On This Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, As Well As…
National Milk Chocolate Day
The most popular chocolate bar in the world is Snickers, which just so happens to be made with creamy milk chocolate. Milk chocolate has been around since the mid-17th century when confectionists added milk to their chocolate drinks. Eventually, in 1887, milk chocolate settled its place in history thanks to a man by the name of Daniel Peter. The best way to celebrate this delicious day is by enjoying your favorite milk chocolate candy bar!
National Waterpark Day
If you live in the northern hemisphere, you probably know that July is the hottest month. Luckily, most places have a waterpark that is somewhere nearby. Waterparks provide kids and adults a place to seek out plunging thrills or kick back in lazy rivers. It is no wonder why they are one of the most popular vacation ideas. While there is probably a waterpark near you, you might want to explore the best of the best. Just make sure to make a splash on this wet and wild holiday!