SAN ANGELO, Texas – Organized in February of 1987, the Buffalo Soldiers of Fort Concho take part in the living history program of the Fort Concho Museum. With both the Infantry and Cavalry units, the Buffalo Soldiers help the museum tell the story of the old military frontier.
“The most important thing is that it allows them to grow and become more productive citizens,” Fort Concho living historian Nathan Gammage said. “This is in regards to getting additional education, learning how to read and write and it’s something that can carry on into their civilian life.”
Most of the officers were white, but several notable African American officers served in these units including Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper, who’s the first Black to graduate from West Point Academy. Flipper served at Fort Concho in 1880 before his transfer to Fort Davis. The Buffalo Soldiers of Fort Concho completed various duties within the southwest region for nearly 20 years.
“The Buffalo Soldiers represent 50 percent of the active duty strength,” Fort Concho site manager Robert Bluthardt stated. “What that means is at any given time there were black troops here between 1869 and 1885, at some points, all of the soldiers were black.”
Some notable duties from the Buffalo Soldiers of Fort Concho included helping out with the development of the fort and the city of San Angelo. The soldiers also played a major role in maintaining the borders of Texas.
“When you see movies or when you don’t see Black cavalry men or Black infantry, we were here,” Gammage expressed. “It’s important that not only did we know that we were here, that everyone knows that the colored soldiers were in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.”
Fort Concho will be celebrating Buffalo Soldier Heritage Day alongside the San Angelo NAACP on February 28th. For more information, visit the Fort Concho website.