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The Forgotten Heroes: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers.

What a rough adventure The Forgotten Heroes: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers turns out to be. It is a saga of black history never taught in Eurocentric schools. The writing, light yet packed with insightful historical details describes for young readers the part black soldiers played in taming the Wild West. Author Clinton Cox retraces the distressing legacy that many, if not all, Buffalo Soldiers confronted in protecting white settlers during the late 1880s.

In July 1866, despite objections from white military leaders and Southern politicians, Congress formed the black regiments of the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry. Given five-year terms at $ 13 a month, young recruits like George Jordan, a 19-year-old farmer from Kentucky, enlisted in the U.S. Army. For the next 30 years, black soldiers such as Jordan escorted wagon trains, chased down outlaws and fought Native-American warriors, including Geronimo of the Apaches and Satanta of the Kiowas.

Cox, a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee of both African and Native-American ancestry, has written a book showing both peoples' history. Many young black men--who entered the Army, as a way to attain true freedom--helped wrest liberty from Native-American people who had always known it. This paradox gives the story of the black soldiers a sharp poignancy.
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Author:Meeks, Kenneth
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1994
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