- Rob Fink
African American involvement with the U.S. military unofficially dates back to the American Revolution; officially, black soldiers began serving in the army during the Civil War. With the success of segregated units like the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry, African Americans solidified their place as a part of the U.S. Army. From this foundation arose the Buffalo Soldiers.
The Buffalo Soldiers consisted of the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantries and the Ninth and Tenth Cavalries. These African American units served all along the frontier, from Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in the South all the way to the Dakota territories in the North. From 1865 until 1916 these soldiers defended the people of the American West The majority of the black males who enlisted were eighteen and nineteen years old the young men most of whom had never before been away from home found themselves stationed on the border of the frontier ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895.