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Buffalo Soldier Memorial
Junction City, Kansas

A larger-than-life African-American soldier leads his horse westward in tribute to the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments.

This summer we were traveling back east from a wedding in Colorado. Shortly after entering Kansas on I-70, we saw a billboard advertising the Buffalo Soldier Memorial 222 miles ahead. Deciding to make the next day a day of site-seeing related to black history, we spent the night near Junction City, home of Fort Riley and several military memorials. I had hoped to see something regarding Lieutenant Flipper on the trip, but satisfied myself with seeing the monument to his regiment.

I was dismayed to find that the signs for the memorial gave out 200 miles away. I saw that one billboard, then saw the site marked on a map of historical sites in Kansas at a rest area. The erectors of the monument, however, knew what I was about to learn: any local resident can point you in the right direction. My hotel-keeper gave us excellent directions. Perhaps this map will help you if you plan ahead more than I did.
[ Yahoo! Maps ]
Map of the Buffalo Soldier Memorial
200 W 18th St
Junction City, KS 66441-2300

Twenty minutes are adaquate to see the monument and read the various inscriptions. They would be twenty minutes well-spent to pay tribute to some of the men who protected our frontier, fought in two World Wars, and proved the capability and valor of their race.

The monument itself is a very life-like bronze statue of a fully-equipped soldier leading his horse. Resolution, and perhaps some deprivation, write the lines in his black face as he marches west.

Weapons enthusiasts will likely be surprised as I was to see him armed with a bolt-action rifle, not an M1873 Trapdoor Springfield used in many of the Indian campaigns. Dallas Freeborn from Topeka explained the weapon as well as other aspects of the soldier's uniform and equipment.

"The statue of the 9th or 10th Cavalryman in the Junction City memorial is armed with a Model 1903 Springfield. The statue is dressed in the uniform of the 1930s with the lapel collar coat first issued in 1926 and the laced boots adopted in about 1931. The M1903 rifle was the standard rifle for the Army in that period."

These regiments served, segregated, until 1944. The 9th Cavalry rode with Theodore Roosevelt during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. The 9th and 10th remained stateside during World War I, while their white counterparts and a few black infantry regiments endured the horror and earned the glory in Europe. They were once again overseas in World War II and were in North Africa when the horse cavlary regiments disbanded in 1944.

Buffalo Soldiers 1866-1891

Black Frontiersman: The Memoirs of Henry O. Flipper: First Black Graduate of West Point

9th Cavalry Timeline
10th Cavalry
Fort Riley Home Page

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