1998 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representatives Dickson, Ellis, Bailey, Banks, Blackmon, Bozeman, Broomfield, Clark, Clarke, Coleman (29th), Coleman (65th), Evans, Flaggs, Fredericks, Gibbs, Green (96th), Green (72nd), Henderson (9th), Henderson (26th), Huddleston, Middleton, Morris, Myers, Perkins, Robinson (63rd), Scott (80th), Smith (27th), Straughter, Thomas, Thornton, Walker, Wallace, Young, Watson, West

House Concurrent Resolution 87

(As Adopted by House and Senate)


WHEREAS, the month of February is designated as Black History Month across the United States, a month to honor the accomplishments of our nation's African-American ancestors; and

WHEREAS, the courageous efforts of our country's Black "Buffalo Soldiers" and those who follow in their legacy have served in and fought heroically in the United States Armed Forces in every major conflict and largely escaped public acknowledgement and recognition; and

WHEREAS, the legend provides that the first Buffalo Soldiers were so named by Native Americans, due to their fierce fighting spirit reminiscent of the revered Great Buffalo; and

WHEREAS, in 1866, the U.S. Congress created six Black regiments: the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry and the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st U.S. Infantry, the first Buffalo Soldiers; and

WHEREAS, in 1869, the four infantry units were reduced to two: the 24th and 25th; and

WHEREAS, these units were entrusted with the protection of the Western settlements and railroad workers, charged with the building of roads and telegraphs, and responsible for discovering and mapping huge plots of unexplored territory in the Southwest United States, earning four Medals of Honor during their tenure; and

WHEREAS, nearly 200,000 Black Americans served in the Union Army during the Civil War, 33,000 of them dying on Civil War battlefields; and

WHEREAS, nearly 400,000 Black Americans served in World War I and compiled an enviable record of courage, valor and bravery in the first all-Black regiment, the 92nd Division; and

WHEREAS, the units of the 92nd, 369th, 370th and 372nd were awarded over 550 Croix de Guerres, France's Highest Award for Bravery, but not one Congressional Medal of Honor by this country until President Bush awarded the only one to Corporal Freddie Stowers of the 371st Infantry on April 24, 1991, posthumously; and

WHEREAS, over one million Blacks served during World War II, including the Red Ball Express Truck Company, the 555th parachute Infantry Company and the 92nd Infantry Division, remaining largely segregated and unheralded until seven Medals of Honor were awarded by President Clinton in 1997, six of them posthumously, 52 years after World War II; and

WHEREAS, only one of these seven men, Vernon J. Baker, lived long enough to receive this White House recognition; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Baker wrote the novel, Lasting Valor, which shared the important and unknown story of the courage and sacrifice of these men, the last of the Buffalo Soldiers; and

WHEREAS, many of the Buffalo Soldiers bore the added burden of growing up in the Depression era, along with the degradation of fighting as segregated troops on foreign soil, while defending their nation's cause and their personal honor and integrity as men:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That the members of the Mississippi Legislature designate the week of February 15, 1998, as "Buffalo Soldier Week," to commemorate the distinguished deeds performed by all African-American soldiers who have served in the United States Armed Forces with devotion and distinction, and in many instances given their lives in the service for their country, and do hold them up for all generations to revere as great patriots of the highest order, worthy of emulation by all.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be provided to the Buffalo Soldier Educational and Historical Committee and the Capitol Press Corps.