Home Local News Buffalo Soldiers remembered in Dobbins Heights Memorial Day service

Buffalo Soldiers remembered in Dobbins Heights Memorial Day service

Trooper Leanna Rogers salutes during the wreath laying at the Dobbins Heights Memorial Day Service on May 24. See more photos below. Photos by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

DOBBINS HEIGHTS — Attendees of Friday’s Memorial Day service received a lesson in military history that’s “sometimes forgotten”: the Buffalo Soldiers.

Giving the presentation was Trooper Leanna Rogers, president of the Greater North Carolina Chapter of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry National Association of Buffalo Soldiers.

In the 1800s, Congress authorized the formation of six all-Black units in the U.S. Army.

“They allowed these Black soldiers to serve their country,” Rogers said. “Prior to that, the soldiers fought in every war since Colonial days, but they were never allowed to bear arms (during peacetime).”

The 9th and 10th Cavalry were among the regiments, along with four infantry units and troops included former slaves, Civil War soldiers and freemen, Rogers said.

The Buffalo Soldiers were responsible for escorting settlers and protecting cattle herds and the railroad, according to Rogers, although the cavalry units did engage in battle with Native Americans — which is where their name derives.


“The Indians … called them ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ because the skin of the black soldiers reminded them of the skin of the buffalo,” Rogers said. “The hair of the black soldiers reminded them of the mane on the buffalo … and the name stuck with them throughout generations.”

Rogers added the units served “with courage and patriotism during a time when it was hard to serve a country that seemed like they did not want you.”

The organization Rogers belongs to was established to keep that legacy alive and has about 30 chapters. Most of the members are former military. Rogers herself served in the National Guard for nearly three decades.

“It’s a heritage to be proud of,” she said, adding that the Buffalo Soldiers paved the way for the Montford Point Marines and the Tuskegee Airmen.