Why Buffalo Soldiers Served Among the Nation’s First Park Rangers

Among the first stewards of the country’s national parks were soldiers of separate black regiments. Beginning in the 1890s, Buffalo soldiers, who had gained value in combat in the Indian Wars and the Spanish American War, added rangers hats to their military uniforms and played an essential role in protecting and building the infrastructure of the country’s vast public lands. .

The first step towards peacetime service for black soldiers began after the end of the civil war in 1865. By that time, the army had dismissed over a million soldiers, reducing the army to 16,000 . But with a war-torn nation in need of reconstruction and a growing desire to expand to the western border, Congress has passed legislation that has changed the trajectory of black soldiers in the U.S. military.

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