“In the earliest days of our nation, African-Americans answered the call to arms in defense of America. Whenever that call came, from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, black men and women on the battlefield retreat over victory. Beginning with the Buffalo Soldiers in 1866, African-Americans would henceforth always be in uniform, challenging the conscience of the nation,” Powell said at the dedication ceremony. “Thousands of other brave black Americans have gone in harm’s way for their country since the days of the Buffalo Soldiers, always moving forward and upward, step by step, sacrifice by sacrifice.”
Three years later, the Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area was expanded to include the Circle of Firsts and the Walkway of Units south of Smith Lake and near the Buffalo Soldier Monument.
The Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area was established “to mark the achievements and aspirations of America’s minority citizens,” said historian Quentin Schillare in his book “The People Behind the Names,” which tells the story of the places, names and people who have left their mark on Fort Leavenworth.