R 74
98-H 8475
Enacted 2/12/98

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N


Introduced By: Representatives Metts, Castro, Shavers, Fox and Carpenter

Date Introduced : February 12, 1998

WHEREAS, The term "Buffalo Soldier" dates back to 1867 when Congress created four black regiments. The 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry. They were sent West where they were assigned to protect settlements and railroad workers and build road and establish telegraphs. Since Native American Indians feared and respected black soldiers, they named them "Buffalo Soldiers" because their hair and fierce fighting spirit reminded them of the revered buffalo; and

WHEREAS, Black Americans have fought heroically in every major U.S. Conflict including the Indian Wars, American Revolution, Civil War, and the 1st and 2nd World Wars; and

WHEREAS, There were nearly 200,000 black Americans serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, with 33,000 of them losing their lives; and

WHEREAS, "Buffalo Soldiers" of the Old West earned 25 medals of honor and had a far lower desertion rate than white soldiers and a far lower rate of alcoholism; and

WHEREAS, Despite the fact that black soldiers were highly decorated by the French during W.W.I, they were denied the Medal of Honor. This award, commonly referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor, is the highest distinction a soldier may earn for bravery on the battlefield; and

WHEREAS, Of the 50,000 men who saw combat in W.W. II, none of these men received the medal of honor; and

WHEREAS, Finally, on January 13, 1997, this terrible wrong was corrected during a White House ceremony in the East Room, when seven W.W. II veterans were presented with the Medal of Honor. Six of those veterans were deceased; the seventh, Vernon J. Barber was present to receive the award, and seventy years after W.W. I, Cpl. Freddie Stowers was given the Medal of Honor Posthumously; and

WHEREAS, The legacy of the "Buffalo Soldiers" lives on in the fact that the first two blacks to become U.S. Army generals came from the ranks of the Buffalo Division. In addition, some of the oldest and best-known black universities -- Howard University, Hampton University, and Fish University were founded by Union generals. Lincoln University was started with money donated by enlisted men from the Regiment of the U.S. Colored Troops after the Civil War; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby proclaims February 20, 1998 as "Buffalo Soldiers Day" in the state of Rhode Island. Their heroism, honor and integrity shall never be forgotten.

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