Buffalo Soldiers Day is celebrated every year in the United States on July 28 to honor the first all-Black army regiment that was formed to keep order in the Wild West after the Civil War.

The soldiers were initially members of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. They were named buffalo soldiers by Native American Indians for unknown reasons following which the term became synonymous with all Black regiments formed in 1866.

On July 28, 1866, Congress enacted legislation that allowed African-American men to serve in the United States Army during peacetime. In 1940, racial segregation in the military was abolished and the buffalo soldiers were redistributed to other units. By the next decade, the Buffalo Soldiers became a memory.

In 1992, President George Bush proclaimed July 28 as Buffalo Soldiers Day to honor 180,000 Black Americans "who fought to preserve the Union during the Civil War."

"Despite suffering the discrimination and the injustice that plagued all black Americans during the days of segregation, the members of the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments served with pride and distinction. On this occasion, we celebrate their outstanding legacy of service," the President said in the proclamation.

On the occasion of Buffalo Soldiers Day, here are a few quotes by Maurice Broaddus, the author of the book ‘Buffalo Soldiers.’ (Courtesy: Good Reads)

  • "No matter how benevolent the ruler, the military drives the empire. Armaments feed the beast. And soldiers who train for war need a war for purpose."
  • "Beneath the power of empire is the problem of justice. Peel that back and beneath the power of justice is the problem of violence."
  • "When the powerless seek their own sense of control, ‘crime’ is what an unjust system produces."
  • "The urban sprawl of squat earthen buildings trailed into the woods, layered, unobtrusive, camouflaged by nature, inadvertent interruptions to the greenways."
  • "Any town considered a potential boomtown had encampments whose tents fluttered in the breeze like a squad of sailboats coming to port. People flocked to a town such as this for an opportunity for a factory job. A cloister of lean-tos, bivouacs, and canvas sheets stretched out for shelter formed a tent city that nestled against the town proper."

gettyimages-1164927000-1024x1024 Buffalo Soldier Photo: Getty Images