Buffalo Soldiers exhibit opens in Rockford Oct. 17

Ethnic Heritage Museum hosts exhibit honoring African-American Civil War troopers, running through the end of November

Following the Civil War, African-American troopers on the Western frontier earned a reputation as fierce Indian fighters. Out of respect, the Indians call these men the Buffalo Soldiers.

On Sunday, Oct. 17th to the end of Nov., the Ethnic Heritage Museum will honor these courageous fighters with an exhibit titled, “Col. Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers.”

Charles Young was the third African American to graduate from West Point. He joined the Buffalo Soldiers and became a career soldier. Later, Lt. Col. Young was forced to retire from the Army due to high blood pressure. To show the Army he was still fit to serve, he rode from Ohio to Washington, D.C. (more than 500 miles) by horseback.

Young was reinstated, promoted to colonel, making him the first African American to reach the rank of colonel and was then stationed to serve at Camp Grant (Rockford) during World War I.

This exhibit will feature uniforms, photos, and other memorabilia relating to Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers. The uniforms are on loan to the museum from Robert Nolan of Rockford.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum is at 1129 S. Main St. in a six-room house built in the 1850s. A distinct ethnic group sponsors each room or gallery: African American, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Hispanic. A visit to each gallery will give the visitor an insight into the traditions and cultural history of each nationality.

This exhibit is free to all members. Admission for non-members is $2 for adults and $1 for children younger than 12.

The museum is open every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Tours can be arranged by contacting the Ethnic Heritage Museum at 962-7402. The museum is handicap accessible.

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