The 114th Congress and legislation on slavery, race, and African American history

Posted January 8th, 2015 by
Category: Modern issues, Public History, Repair and reparations Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Now that the 114th Congress has convened the first session of its two-year term, it’s time to take stock of the status of legislation related to slavery, race, and African American history. What happened to legislation which was pending before the 113th Congress, and what new legislation has already been proposed in the new session?

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Buffalo Soldiers in the National Parks Study Act

Posted June 19th, 2013 by
Category: Public History Tags: , , ,

Buffalo Soldiers from the 24th Infantry at Yosemite (1899)On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 520, the “Buffalo Soldiers in the National Parks Study Act,” which would study ways for the National Park Service to commemorate these black troops and their historic role in the post-Civil War era.

The history of the Buffalo Soldiers

The Buffalo Soldiers were U.S. Army troops who, as the bill puts it, “served in many critical roles in the western United States, including protecting some of the first National Parks” in the Sierra Nevada. Their origins date to 1866, when Congress authorized the creation of all-black Army regiments: the 24th and 25th infantry regiments and the 9th and 10th cavalry regiments. The soldiers who enlisted were primarily southerners leaving behind sharply limited economic opportunities for black citizens in the Jim Crow South. The Buffalo Soldiers performed many duties in the West, including service in the Spanish-American and Indian Wars and patrolling large territories to maintain law and order.

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