VT Edition Interview: Frank Shubert on the role of the “Buffalo Soldiers”

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In the years following the American Civil War, and through World War One, black soldiers played a prominent role in shaping America’s landscape.

The African-Americans who served in the army during this period became known as "Buffalo Soldiers", a phrase with ambiguous and dubious origins. The regiments were stationed at just a handful bases around the country. One of them was in Vermont at Forth Ethan Allen in Colchester.

Dr. Frank Schubert is a military historian who’s devoted much of his research to the so-called "Buffalo Soldiers". He’s the author of numerous books including On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier, Volumes 1 and 2…Biographies of African Americans in the US Army 1866-1917…. Dr. Schubert says he’s often asked how the term "Buffalo Soldier" came to be, but the answer is elusive.


Photo: Cpl. Isaiah Mays, a Buffalo Soldier, is shown wearing the Medal of Honor he received in 1890, in this undated handout photo. For 76 years Mays’ remains lay under a numbered stone slab at Arizona State Hospital cemetery in Phoenix. With Memorial Day approaching, Mays was finally honored Wednesday, May 23, 2001, with a headstone commemorating him as a Medal of Honor winner. Mays, who was born a slave, joined the 10th Calvary and was stationed in Tucson, Ariz., when in 1889 bandits attacked a payroll wagon he was guarding. Shot in both legs, Mays crawled two miles to sound an alarm and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

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