"How the Day was Won"

Charge of the Tenth Cavalry Unit

Battle of San Juan Hill

Despite the fact that the Rough Riders and the Buffalo Soldiers shared the victory and despite the attention that gravitated toward Theodore Roosevelt, the post-battle spotlight shone brightly on the Buffalo Soldiers.  Since the Reorganization Act of 1866, their regiments had mainly served in the remotest corners of the West.  But Cuba was different.  For the first time the Buffalo Soldiers stood front and center on the national stage.  A number of mainstream periodicals recounted their exploits, as nurses in the yellow fever hospital at Siboney as well as on the battlefield, and reviewed their history, mostly favorably.

In an age of increasing racism that was hardening into institutionalized segregation through the South and affecting the lives of black Americans everywhere, the Buffalo Soldiers were heroes.  Poetry, dramas and songs all celebrated their service and valor.

This lithograph from the Maryland Litho Co. is an example of artwork commemorating the Buffalo Soldier.  Lithograph circa 1899.


2014.8.23, Courtesy of The Library of Congress