Pride of the Buffalo Soldier
  Shauna B. Schroder
  Oliver Investments
  Corral, 1 East Main at the Bricktown & Downtown border

Artist's Description

Inspiration for Design: Awareness, Education, and Recognition

Until recently, the Buffalo Soldier was grossly omitted from our history books. In fact, although I graduated from high school and college as recently as 1988 and 1993, respectively, the Buffalo Soldiers were never discussed in my Oklahoma History courses. My first awareness of these soldiers was in the mid-90s - I saw a striking poster series titled OKLAHOMA: NATIVE AMERICA (published by the Oklahoma Dept. of Tourism), one of which featured the Buffalo Soldier. Other than online research for this project, my only other exposure to this issue was the 1997 TNT film produced and starred in by Danny Glover. The film illustrated their courage, reliability, and dedication to service in the face of discriminations, which included withholdings of basic necessities such as food and clothing.

The Buffalo Soldier's Role in Oklahoma History

Civil War - Battle of Honey Springs: On July 17, 1863, blacks fought in this battle alongside white soldiers near present-day Muskogee. The black troops held the Union's center line, breaking the Confederate's center, and giving the Union a critical win that secured both the Arkansas River and the Texas Road (the region's major transportation routes). This ensured the Union a solid foothold in
Click photos for close-up

Indian Territory - one it never relinquished.

The 9th & 10th Cavalry Units: A year after the Civil War ended in 1865, Congress passed a bill providing provisions for black troops, what became the 9th and 10th Cavalry. The 10th was headquartered at Fort Gibson and the 9th at Fort Sill. These servicemen built Oklahoma's forts; fought bandits, cattle thieves, and Mexican revolutionaries (incl. Pancho Villa); policed borders during the land runs; built telegraph lines; settled railroad disputes, and so on.

Buffalo Soldiers: The 9th and 10th Cavalry units also played a critical role in the Indian Wars of the late 1800s. It was during this time that they earned the respect of Native Americans, who coined the title "Buffalo Soldier." The Plains Indians felt the black soldier's short, curly hair resembled the buffalo's sacred mane. In addition, the title was considered a comparison to the buffalo's strength, tenacity, and fighting spirit. The troopers accepted the title as a measure of respect and wore proudly.

Spirit of the Buffalo originated as a public art project combining art, commerce and civic pride in Oklahoma featuring Oklahoma artists. Initial proceeds benefited the Nature Conservancy's work in Oklahoma. The website project continues through private funds.