Our mission is to acknowledge, honor, promote, and preserve the history and contributions of Buffalo Soldiers and military persons that served the United States of America.
Beginning in 1962, Jackie “Jack” Gaines and Alpheus “Al” Jones, retired 9th and 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers of West Point, began to host annual memorial events to honor and celebrate the legacy of the Buffalo Soldier and the contributions of African American Veterans in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. With the help of Leon Tatum, Edward Sisk, Edward Smith, Sanders H. Matthews Sr., Perry Hicks, Kenneth Nike, Joseph Dunn, Wilber Mays, Hewitt Teabout, and over 50 other retired 9th and 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers of West Point, the annual memorial events honored, promoted, and acknowledged the contributions of African American Veterans in Army history.
Over the years, the annual events of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers of West Point grew in popularity and became a beacon of history within the Hudson Valley region. Their efforts were recognized in 1973, when Colonel Floyd McAfee placed a “Memorial Rock” as a marker for the Black Horse Cavalry Detachments that served at the United States Military Academy from 1907 to 1946 at the intersection of Thayer road and Mills road at West Point. The marker helped the Buffalo Soldiers at West Point to bring greater recognition to the contributions of African Americans who graduated from the United States Military Academy, as well as engage and inform a broader public audience of the contributions of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers at West Point. For 55 years, an original Buffalo Soldier that served at West Point during WWII has hosted an annual memorial service at the United States Military Academy to honor and celebrate the legacy of fellow Buffalo Soldiers and Veterans in the U.S. Army, every Labor Day Weekend. Since the 1990s, the color guard from the USMA Military Police company and buglers from the USMA Band provide support for the Buffalo Soldiers’ Memorial Service and reunion, which ends in a 21-gun salute.
In 2008, the Buffalo Soldiers Association of West Point, Inc. was founded by the last living known West Point Buffalo Soldier, Sergeant (Ret.) Sanders H. Matthews (now deceased), with the help of Mattie Moore, Joseph Thaxton, Robert Young, and Kerney Oby (now deceased). The Association was created as a not-for-profit Corporation (501(c)3 in the state of New York to expand the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial event, increase educational programs, and enhance the awareness of the contributions and experiences of active and retired military personnel in the Army, and Veterans in the Hudson Valley region.
In 2010, the last living commander of the 9th and 10th Cavalry of the Buffalo Soldiers at West Point, Thomas John Nazzaro, established an educational scholarship at Norwich University--the Military College in Northfield, Vermont. The scholarship is awarded annually to lineal descendants of the 9th and 10th Cavalry, known as “Buffalo Soldiers” with preference given to all lineal descendants of the United States Military Academy Cavalry Detachment at West Point, New York. Norwich University is the country’s oldest private military college and birthplace to the ROTC program in the United States.
In 2011, members of the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Club (NABSTMC)-Northeast Frontier began to attend the Buffalo Soldiers wreath laying ceremony at the “Memorial Rock” at West Point. In 2013, the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club West Point Chapter was created, and over 100 members of the NABSTMC attend the Buffalo Soldiers Association of West Point commemorative events.
In 2014, the Association helped arrange for President Barack Obama to greet Buffalo Soldiers Lewis Coffield and Sanders H. Matthews Sr. at Stewart Air National Guard Base prior to his departure from Newburgh, New York. In 2015, the Buffalo Soldiers Association of West Point continues to host annual commemorative events, educate the public, honor and celebrate military personnel, and create Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) initiatives that preserve the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers.
To view a video interview of Sergeant Sanders Matthews archived by the West Point Center for Oral History - Click here.