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June 19, 2006
Buffalo Soldiers Impart Living History at Summer Events
AUSTIN, Texas — This summer, the Texas Buffalo Soldiers have a full schedule of activities including presentations at youth camps, a Last Frontier Heritage Tourism event in Cochran County and three weekends of celebrations at the HemisFair Plaza in San Antonio.
In 1999, the Texas Legislature proclaimed July "Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month," making this the only state in the Union that recognizes the Buffalo Soldiers with a month-long celebration. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's "Texas Buffalo Soldier" Outdoor Educational Programs utilizes a network of Buffalo Soldiers volunteer groups and community partners to stage and produce living history encampments trail rides and other events.
American Indians dubbed the African-American regiments "buffalo soldiers." Some say the Indians thought the soldiers’ curly hair resembled the buffalo’s sacred mane, while others believe the Indians were referring to the soldiers’ fighting spirit.
The program’s youth outreach focus has expanded to encompass Hispanic Vaqueros, American Indians, Frontier Women and other cultural groups contributing to the rich history of the 1800’s. They conduct ongoing cultural research, coordinate dozens of living history events for schools and youth groups across Texas each year and promote the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Trail, which follows routes taken across Texas in the 1800’s by military personnel and civilians.
Camp Coca Cola, held at the Parrie Haynes Ranch, will feature a session with the Buffalo Soldiers as one element of the multi-week camp program. The camp is a one-month immersion in leadership training and community service for at-risk youth. The Buffalo Soldier events are scheduled for June 8, June 15, July 8 and July 15.
Cochran County’s "Texas Last Frontier Heritage Celebration," based at Cochran County Park in Morton west of Lubbock is a free event open to the public the weekend of June 23-25. Here visitors of all ages can listen to Buffalo Soldiers stories and experience what daily life was like in camp and on patrol.
Buffalo Soldiers will also be featured in Texas’ first intercultural youth camp at Fort McKavett from June 24 to July 1. Youth ages 9 to 12 will participate in a program called Old Stories, New Voices, which spotlights the contributions of African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics, and Anglos to Texas’ history and culture. Old Stories, New Voices is a project of the Colorado Historical Society, made possible with grant funding from Texas State Parks and Wildlife, The Texas State Historical Association, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, The Colorado Historical Society, The National Park Service and The National Endowment for the Humanities.
At San Antonio’s HemisFair Plaza, the Buffalo Soldiers Living History & Heritage Organization will sponsor the annual Texas Buffalo Soldiers Month Celebration. The event takes place July 1, 22 and 29.
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