Buffalo Soldiers: African American Troops in the US Forces 1866-1945

Buffalo Soldiers: African American Troops in the US Forces 1866-1945

by Ron Field, Alexander Bielakowski, Richard Hook
     
 

The first regular army regiments of African Americans were authorized by Congress in July 1866, and African American soldiers have played an important role in the conflicts of their country ever since. These brave men fought not only tirelessly against the enemy, but also against prejudice and discrimination within the armed forces, striving to be given the chance

Overview

The first regular army regiments of African Americans were authorized by Congress in July 1866, and African American soldiers have played an important role in the conflicts of their country ever since. These brave men fought not only tirelessly against the enemy, but also against prejudice and discrimination within the armed forces, striving to be given the chance to show their worth and fight for their country. Their efforts culminated in the integration of the armed forces, starting in 1946.

This book covers the history of African-American soldiers, from the American Civil War and their initial involvement on the western frontier during the Plains Wars, where they were nicknamed "Buffalo Soldiers" by their Native American enemies. It then examines their role during the age of "American Imperialism," campaigning across Cuba and Mexico before distinguishing themselves in the trenches of World War I. Finally, it examines their participation in World War II, where almost half a million African Americans fought and died for their country and the subsequent desegregation of the armed forces. Accompanied by color illustrations and rare photographs, the text chronicles the actions of these units, their uniform and appearance and how they were to eventually overcome discrimination and prejudice.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Through the years, African Americans, dubbed 'Buffalo Soldiers' by the Native American tribes, have had a long and distinguished history of service to the U.S. military. Their devotion to duty, however, did not prevent them from being racially discriminated against by military comrades and civilians alike. This account takes the reader from their beginnings to the end of World War II. Despite African Americans' patriotism and willingness to fight, the US military was still segregated. As time elapsed, that would soon change. In 1954, the remaining African American units were fully integrated into the Army. The 'Buffalo Soldiers' now stood side by side with other American servicemen of all races.” —Military Heritage (June 2009)

“Buffalo Soldiers, an attractive, heavily illustrated volume, briefly introduces the reader to the black soldier of the Civil War, including those of the First Kansas Colored Infantry that was 'unofficially' organized in the summer of 1862, but it concentrates on the postwar years, beginning with the formation of the first regular African American regiments authorized and raised in 1866 and ending with the first moves to desegregate the armed forces in 1946. The book, which is divided into three parts--'New Frontiers,' 'Buffalo Soldiers,' and 'World War II'--concludes with a short essay on integration during the Cold War, and although it contains no source notes, a nice bibliography is included.” —Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains (Volume 31, No 4)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781846033438
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
11/18/2008
Series:
General Military Series
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

A FEMALE BUFFALO SOLDIER

November 15, 1867 marked a very interesting–and ultimately important–day. To the surprise of many today, and the ignorance of all on that particular day over 140 years ago, Cathay Williams was the first (and only) black female to join Company A, 38th Infantry. With the lack of a thorough physical examination, her masculine and powerful physique, and a decision to change her name to William Cathay, she was able to fool the recruiting officer.

Williams served in the 38th Infantry for the next two years, until she decided that she no longer wanted to be a soldier. A false illness and complaints of rheumatism resulted in another physical examination (this time quite thorough), and she got her discharge as quickly and easily as the permission to join the 38th Infantry.

Meet the Author

Ron Field is Head of History at the Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and taught history at Piedmont High School in California from 1982 to 1983. He was associate editor of the Confederate Historical Society of Great Britain, from 1983 to 1992. He is an internationally acknowledged expert on US military history, and was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians, based in Washington, DC, in 2005.

Alexander M. Bielakowski completed his Ph.D. in U.S. military history at Kansas State University. He has written several articles on various aspects of military history, with a special interest in horse cavalry during the 20th Century. In 2000 he attended the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History at the United States Military Academy, and served as a historical consultant and interviewee for the History Channel documentary Animals in Action: Horses (2002). Dr. Bielakowski is an Associate Professor of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

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