The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, Texas pays tribute to the first six all African American Army units formed in 1866 by Congress. It also honors all the men and women who served this nation in the military since the Civil War.
The main collection is held in two rooms, but the ongoing guided tour that guests can join at any point is detailed and illustrated by the many artifacts on display.
Founded in 2000, the museum explores the contributions made by the Buffalo Soldiers — named by the Cheyenne Indians because of the black men’s wiry hair and their fierce fighting ability. Over time, Buffalo Soldier became a generic term for all African American soldiers.
9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments
Within one year of activation, the 10th cavalry headed west from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas fighting in locations like the Great Plains, and in the mountains and deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.
For 10 years the men were engaged in conflict with several American Indian nations, outlaws, Mexican bandits and revolutionaries who roamed, raided, stole and murdered.
The guide walks guests past exhibits illustrating a soldier’s life during the 1800s — during the Indians Wars of the American West and the Spanish American War of 1898. The next century brought World War I and World War II, and Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Black soldiers also fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War and other American conflicts up to and including the Persian Gulf War.
24th and 25th Infantry Regiments
Organized in 1869 after consolidation of two other Black units, the 24th Infantry Regiment spent more than 20 years maintaining peace on the frontier. The men also built roads, guarded stage stations, constructed and repaired telegraph lines, and escorted supply trains, survey parties, freight wagons and mail coaches.
The 25th Infantry Regiment was organized at Jackson Barracks, Louisiana in 1868 — composed of personnel from the all Black 39th and 40th Infantry Regiments. The regiment was assigned to the Texas frontier and helped establish and operate a lumber camp and sawmill, manage food and supply routes; build roads, buildings and telegraph lines; and carry out scouting missions.
If you go:
The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is a member of the Houston Museum District and the only museum dedicated primarily to preserving the legacy and honor of the African American soldier.
The Museum is located at 1834 Southmore Street in Houston and is open Monday thru Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Sunday.
For more information check the website or call 713-942-8920.
Recommended hotel: Hotel ICON is located in the former Union National Bank building, a landmark structure built in 1911. It took $35 million to transform the bank into the beautiful hotel it is today.
Although the lobby, restaurant and lounge have a contemporary feel, once you are on the elevator you’re whisked back into the world of turn-of-the-century Texas.
The hotel is located at 220 Main Street in Houston. For more information check the website or call 713-224-4266.
Recommended restaurants: Close to the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum at 3201 Louisiana Street is Sushi Raku, a wonderful midtown Japanese restaurant — the only one in Houston to serve fresh seafood from Japan flown in daily.
Although sushi and seafood are its hallmarks, the menu has offerings for every palette. The service and food is wonderful and the atmosphere peaceful and calming.
For more information check the website at sushi-raku.com or call 713-526-8885.
Another excellent — and fun — restaurant in downtown Houston is Strip House Steakhouse at 1200 McKinney Street. The theme is a take-off on the restaurant’s name. The all red décor features photographs of women taken at Vienna’s Studio Manasse in the early 1900s.
And the food is simply decadent — from the restaurant’s signature steak cooked to perfection to the side dishes including Black Truffle Cream Spinach and Goose Fat Potatoes, you’re in for a treat.
Add to this the chocolate cake featured on the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate and your meal turns into a culinary adventure.