NIC To Offer History Presentation On Buffalo Soldiers
Public Information Coordinator
Who: Albert Wilkerson, a reenactor with a special interest in the Black West, What: will present on the history of the buffalo soldiers, or black military troops in the 19th century, When: at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, located at Where: 702 E. Front Ave. in Coeur d'Alene, and again at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 at the Hayden Lake Public Library at 8385 N. Government Way in Hayden. How: The presentations are free and open to the public. Information: (208) 772-3953.
Wearing the uniform of a 19th century U.S. Calvary buffalo soldier, reenactor Albert Wilkerson will present a living history performance as Sgt. Wilkie during two presentations in North Idaho. The first will be offered at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, located at 702 E. Front Ave. in Coeur d'Alene. The second presentation will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 at the Hayden Lake Public Library at 8385 N. Government Way in Hayden.
"I have always liked horses and western movies and as a boy, wondered why there were no black cowboys in the movies," Wilkerson said, adding that some of his ancestors were buffalo soldiers.
"Peacekeepers of the Old West and Their Regional History" will focus on the history of the buffalo soldiers. Black troops in the 19th century were named "buffalo soldiers" by Native Americans who respected the courage and strength of the black soldiers and observed that their hair resembled the fur that grew between a buffalo's horns.
An Act of Congress in 1866 broke the tradition of an all-white peacetime military, allowing African-Americans to serve in the U.S. Army. Black soldiers struggled with prejudice and inferior equipment along with harsh living conditions as they performed their duties as builders, peacekeepers, guards and warriors in the old west.
Buffalo soldiers were a part of the Inland Northwest's history as well. Buffalo soldiers were assigned to Fort Wright in Spokane, Montana and they would often stay overnight at Fort Sherman in what is now Coeur d'Alene.
The presentation is part of the "Your Place in History" local history program series sponsored by NIC's Molstead Library, the Museum of North Idaho and the Kootenai County Public Libraries.
The event is free and open to the public.
For more information:
Program facilitator Skip Kuck at (208) 772-3953
David Townsend of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library at (208) 769-2315
Karen Yother of the Hayden Lake Public Library at (208) 772-5612