Gen. Colin Powell was serving at the deputy commanding general at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in the early ’80’s and searched for monuments honoring the Buffalo Soldiers. Disappointed to find just two alleys bearing the name of the all-Black Army units, Gen. Powell used his influence to help erect a proper monument on this day in 1992.
Powell, the highest-ranking Black military officer during his time of service and the first Black Secretary of State, credited retired Navy Comdr. Carlton Philpot with taking the initiative to raise more than $850,000 to have the statue created. Philpot was a historian at Fort Leavenworth, which is the site where the 10th Calvary of the Buffalo Soldiers were formed in 1866.
The statute was constructed by Texas sculptor Eddie Dixon and featured a lone Black soldier on horseback. Powell delivered the keynote speech at the ceremony, which also welcomed descendants of the soldiers to take place in the festivities. The idea behind the statue was due in part to Powell’s suggestion that the soldier be in action, and to be dressed similarly as a white soldier would be.
Things came full circle for Powell in 2014 when a bust of himself was dedicated at what is now known as Buffalo Soldiers Memorial Park at Fort Leavenworth with Philpot in attendance.
Powell graciously turned over the honor to Philpot for making the initial Buffalo Soldiers monument a reality, and also shied away from plumping himself. He said that he hoped his image at the park would inspire young Black people to pursue a career in the military much like the Buffalo Soldiers inspired him.
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Little Known Black History Fact: Buffalo Soldiers Monument was originally published on blackamericaweb.com