Martin Luther King Day march continues to teach

Lesson in equality, acceptance, freedom offered by Buffalo Soldiers

Author: Ursula Pari, Anchor,
Published On: Jan 21 2013 04:14:12 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 21 2013 04:46:08 PM CST

For decades now, San Antonio’s Martin Luther King Jr. March has drawn tens of thousands of marchers and this year’s was no exception.

In a crowd that large, there were some lessons that Dr. King himself would have appreciated -- if not given himself.

Among the marchers this year were the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers Association members.

In their post-Civil War-era uniforms aboard horses, they were among the last to march.

Children gathered to watch the big animals, but also to ask the significance of this troop of horsemen.

President Billy Gordon was happy to give a lesson.

"Let me tell you: the Buffalo Soldiers were the first black soldiers permitted to join the United States Army way back in 1866," he told a small group of first-time MLK March children.

Gordon explained a how the group of soldiers came about after their freedom from slavery after the Civil War, but also the nuances of work in the Wild West with Indians.

"(The U.S. Military) needed those black soldiers to help out and bring peace along with the other soldiers. So when the Native Americans saw them, they called them the 'Buffalo Soldiers,'" he explained.

The name was derived from a belief that these soldiers shared commonality with the sacred buffalo that the Indians honored.

Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers say they are available to bring their lesson to groups and schools upon request.

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