Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Myer
Right here in Rosslyn, about 200 yards up from the Fort Myer gate at the corner of N. Meade St. and Marshall Dr. is a building that housed Buffalo Soldiers. These were soldiers in African-American cavalry units formed in 1866. From 1891 to 1894, the Buffalo Soldiers of Troop (Company) K of the 9th Cavalry Regiment were stationed at Fort Myer. From 1931 to 1949, Buffalo Soldiers of the Machine Gun Troop of the 10'th Cavalry Regiment were at Fort Myer.
The Buffalo Soldiers' barracks signal their field of duty in the Southwest. The top of the side wall of the barracks has a shape characteristic of the Spanish West. That Spanish-West style is not deeply integrated into the form of the whole building. I speculate that the Buffalo Soldiers' themselves built this barracks and added that styling to a general-issue building design.
The U.S. military was desegregated only in 1949. Institutionalized racism has endured even longer. Buffalo Soldiers served valiantly a country that served them unjustly.
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Image notes: 1) Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment, 1890, wearing buffalo skins in cold weather, 2) Buffalo Soldiers' barracks at Fort Myer, and 3) Buffalo Solder, 10th Cavalry, Fort Myer, 1934