60°F
weather icon Clear

Buffalo Soldiers honored at Las Vegas senior center

The Doolittle Senior Center in the Historic Westside community was packed wall-to-wall with history buffs of all ages Saturday to celebrate Nevada’s first Buffalo Soldiers Day a day early.

Motorcycle jackets, spur boots, Civil War memorabilia, and Buffalo Soldiers from three different organizations in the state came to celebrate the holiday, declared officially by Gov. Steve Sisolak as July 28, 2019.

“These soldiers were nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers by the Native Americans against whom they fought because of their reputation, toughness, and bravery in battle, and the buffalo coats they wore in the winter,” said Fred Wagar, deputy director for the Nevada Department of Veteran Services.

Wagar read the governor’s proclamation while residents and soldiers ate lunch and perused Civil War memorabilia.

Buffalo Soldiers also were some of the first park rangers at the national parks along the Sierra Nevada, and helped lay roads and rail lines throughout the West during expansion after the Civil War, Wagar said.

All three Buffalo Soldier groups in Nevada spoke about their work, and the honor it was to be a part of the day.

State Sens. Dallas Harris and Pat Spearman were granted honorary lifetime membership to the Southern Nevada Buffalo Soldiers, “for leading the charge to recognize the 28th of July as Buffalo Soldier Day in Nevada,” said Trooper Keith Hill, president of the 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry Association.

“I am extremely humbled and proud to be a very small part of what is actually the first Buffalo Soldiers Day in the nation. We want to make sure that Nevada is the model for the country in so many ways,” Harris said.

“Some people might look at this as a small step, but it takes a small step to walk a mile,” said Willie Harrell, president of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club.

Harrell expressed excitement at the work the club is doing for the Las Vegas Valley, and provided a history of the motorcycle club. The Nevada chapter, which began in 2005, is the 42nd in the country.

The third Buffalo Soldiers group to present Saturday, a sister organization to the motorcycle club, was represented by Doris Johnson, who founded the group in honor of Cathy Williams, the only female Buffalo Soldier.

The group provides services to homeless female veterans, a group Johnson said has a population of more than 55,000 nationwide.

Johnson was originally part of the original Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club in Chicago founded in 1993, but wanted to focus on the veteran who is never spoken about.

“There are statues of white women that went into the Independence War as men. They come out and they have statues in their honor, they have streets named after them. There’s nothing named after Cathy Williams other than what the Buffalo Soldiers have done,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Williams helped pave the way for the law allowing women to legally join the military nearly 100 years later.

“This is a history that everybody needs to know about. She is responsible for the women being in the military today. This is why they passed the law in 1948.”

Many residents expressed dismay that school curriculum does not cover Buffalo Soldiers at all, or African-American history enough.

“So many students only hear about black history in February,” said Matt Killingsworth, a humanities teacher at Mendoza Elementary School.

Killingsworth has been pushing for the Clark County School District to include more African-American history in its curriculum for several years. In the meantime, he invites the Buffalo Soldiers 9th and 10th Calvary to speak in his classroom each year.

Social worker Renata Coles expressed a similar sentiment.

“I’ve gone through school here and it was not something that was talked about,” she said.

Coles came with her husband, Damian, and their three children, two girls, ages 8 and 5, and one boy, 5.

“It’s great to have these people from the community come out and get the history,” Damian Coles said. “Bring the kids out and show them some American black history.”

A campaign representative for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California reiterated her message on school curriculum on behalf of the presidential hopeful.

“One of the things that Sen. Harris said time and time again is that black history is American history. It’s time that it’s recognized as U.S. history, it’s time it’s taught in schools and recognized in textbooks.”

Spearman made closing remarks, thanking the Buffalo Soldiers for the work accomplished to recognize the holiday on Sunday.

“Whatever we are accomplishing today, we are standing on the shoulders of giants, and without you we may not have had integration in the services,” she said.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Meals on Wheels waiting list skyrockets - VIDEO
Media and community relations director Leslie Carmine discusses changes regarding Meals on Wheels, at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The waiting list for the meals that are delivered directly to homebound seniors in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas has grown up to 2,400. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Residents concerned about recent mailbox break-ins - VIDEO
Checks from the stimulus bill passed by Congress are being sent out this week and next. Some Las Vegas residents are concerned those checks could be stolen out of mailboxes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County will allow the delivery of alcohol, temporarily - VIDEO
Las Vegas officials allowed alcohol delivery to begin late last week in their jurisdiction. Now Clark County is doing the same until April 30, unless the shutdown is extended. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson center opens food bank to public - VIDEO
Visitors to the St. Therese Center HIV Outreach drive-thru food pantry talk about the impact of food banks for their families and friends. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cars line up for over 4 miles for food
Cars were lined up along Sahara Avenue from Palace Station to South Rainbow Boulevard for food distribution sponsored by Three Square and Central Church in Henderson.
Two large fires hit parts of the Las Vegas Valley - VIDEO
Renee Summerour wraps up the two large fire that hit part of the Las Vegas Valley Late Wednesday , early morning Thursday. RJ reporter Glenn Puit was at both scenes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas hotels light up their windows to show support during shutdown - VIDEO
Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip lit up their windows with hearts and messages to show support during the coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday night, April 1. (Le'Andre Fox and James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Isolation and quarantine center for homeless at Cashman Center - VIDEO
A new isolation and quarantine center for homeless is under construction at the Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas, March 31. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Day care changes hours and takes extra steps to help guardians - VIDEO
Sarah Washington, whose children attend Discovery Gardens Childcare, shares the importance of the facility’s hour changes, and child care director Ariella Thomas discusses some other changes Discovery Gardens Childcare has made, in Las Vegas on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Elipagephoto
Costco reduces hours at Las Vegas Valley stores, gasoline pumps - VIDEO
Costco announced it will reduce hours at its stores and gas pumps starting Monday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police investigate apparent murder-suicide
Las Vegas police investigate an apparent murder-suicide in the 3900 block of Chasing Heart Way on Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Homeless outreach organization feeds people in age of social distancing - VIDEO
Homeless outreach organization Food Not Bombs handed out sack lunches, hygiene kits and blankets on Foremaster Lane in Las Vegas, Thursday, March 26, 2020. Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, which has temporarily closed its dining room and emergency night shelter, also handed out to-go lunches on Foremaster Lane. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada gets an A for social distancing
In an interactive Scoreboard by tech company Unacast, organizations can measure and understand the efficacy of social distancing. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada construction continues as coronavirus spreads
When Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered Nevada businesses closed, he let construction workers stay on the job, deeming homebuilding and other construction “essential” lines of work.
Pedestrian struck, killed in western Las Vegas Valley crash - VIDEO
Las Vegas police are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed in a crash Wednesday night in the west valley. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police investigate fatal crash in east Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police said a pedestrian was killed when they were hit by a vehicle near Sloan Lane and of East Charleston Boulevard on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seeing teachers at a distance, closed parks and lack of toilet paper - VIDEO
The neighboring towns of Logandale and Overton, northeast of Las Vegas, are experiencing the effects of coronavirus, with closed schools and playgrounds and fewer items in grocery stores. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas residents enjoy the snow at Lee Canyon - VIDEO
Las Vegas residents get out to enjoy the snow at Lee Canyon on Mount Charleston. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Post office stays open amidst shutdown - VIDEO
Mail delivery and services at post offices continues despite the coronavirus crisis. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 person dies in east Las Vegas fire - VIDEO
One person and a dog were found dead after a fire in a detached structure adjacent to a house near East Monroe Avenue and North Betty Lane in east Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Albertsons, Walmart, Amazon increase pay amid coronavirus impact - VIDEO
Grocery stores and other retailers have raised employee pay as they work to meet customer demand during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
High winds move clouds across the Las Vegas Valley - Time-lapse video
Isolated showers depart when gusty winds move in probably remain through Wednesday, March 25, when another storm front is expected. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown's Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign moving to Neon Museum - VIDEO
Yesco workers remove the Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard on Monday, March 23, 2020. The sign, which has been at the location for five years, will be displayed at the Neon Museum. A museum representative said a replacement neon sign is in the works. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Distance Learning challenges for Clark County School District - VIDEO
Renee Summerour sits down with RJ reporter Aleksandra Appleton to discuss the challenges the Clark County School District is facing with Distance Learning, a program that was slated to begin Monday, March 23. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Deliver with Dignity will give 100 families meals today - VIDEO
“Deliver with Dignity” was created “to bring high-quality meals directly to the most vulnerable families in the Las Vegas Valley, keeping them and the community safe by reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.” (Facebook/Clark County)
CCSD board holds an emergency meeting on Distance Learning - VIDEO
The Clark County School Board held an emergency meeting on Monday morning, the day that distance learning was supposed to begin at all schools in Nevada. (Clark County School District)
Las Vegas Valley residents make medical masks for health care workers - VIDEO
Anissa Gustafson has spent most of her week sewing masks in an effort to assist health care workers in the Las Vegas Valley who are running out because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coronavirus patients could inundate hospitals - VIDEO
RJ Investigations reporter Michael S. Davidson talks about how a rapid influx of coronavirus patients could soon inundate Nevada hospitals, pushing them past their capacity and threatening health care workers’ safety. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
M Resort donates food surplus to workers - VIDEO
The M Resort donated a surplus of perishable food supplies to team members after the closure of the hotel due to a shutdown of nonessential businesses in Nevada, Friday, March 20, 2020. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Costco reserved earliest hour for seniors - VIDEO
People line up outside Costco in Henderson after the store reserved earliest hour for seniors on Friday, March 20, 2020. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Missing hiker's sister on staying hopeful - Video
Karsta Lucas, the sister of Ronnie Lucas, a hiker missing at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, said Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, that family members remain hopeful the 33-year-old diabetic will be found safe despite spending two nights in the open without his insulin. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Search continues for missing hiker at Red Rock Canyon - Video
Volunteers come out to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area west of Las Vegas to help find a hiker, Ronnie Lucas, who went missing on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Search for missing hiker at Red Rock Canyon - Video
Red Rock Search & Rescue is looked for the missing hiker at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on Monday, Feb. 10, 2010. The man was reported missing on Sunday. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ready to enforce homeless camping ban - VIDEO
Las Vegas police will begin enforcing a controversial camping ban on city streets on Saturday, but officials say they expect to impose the penalties available under the new ordinance only in rare instances. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officials celebrate opening of Las Vegas park named for slain officer - Video
Top public officials came together Friday morning to celebrate the grand opening of Officer Alyn Beck Memorial Park in the northwest valley, named after a police officer killed in the line of duty in 2014. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wrong-way driver causes fatal crash near Las Vegas airport, authorities say - VIDEO
A suspected impaired motorist driving the wrong way on the Airport Connector caused a crash that killed another driver near McCarran International Airport early Friday morning, Jan. 17, 2020, according to law enforcement. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The car that Tupac was shot in is for sale - VIDEO
The vehicle that legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was riding in when he was shot after a boxing match in Las Vegas is up for auction. The black 1996 BMW 7 Series is listed by Celebrity Cars Las Vegas for $1.75 million. (Angus Kelly/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST