Category Archives: african american culture

A tribute to Buffalo Soldiers

[Source: Sam Lowe, Arizona Republic] — The monument is an 8-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a Buffalo Soldier in period dress, holding a rifle in one hand and a saddle in the other. The work traces its origins to the early 1970s, when Spec. 4 Clarence E. Wilson Jr. embarked on a personal mission to honor African-American soldiers who had been stationed at Fort Huachuca. Wilson, a social worker in the fort’s drug- and alcohol-abuse center, worked tirelessly in his off-duty hours to establish a course on Black history, acquire Black heritage literature for the post libraries and start the campaign to erect the statue. But Wilson left the post before accomplishing the mission, so Col. Arthur Corley, then the garrison commander, assigned the project to the Fort Huachuca Historical Museum.

Staff artist Rose Murray was given the task of designing the sculpture, and she attended advanced sculpture courses at the University of Arizona while creating several wax models of the soldier. Once the final model was ready, the garrison ran into funding problems. There wasn’t enough money to cast the bronze, but a firm in Tucson accepted the work at a bargain price. Further cost reductions were achieved by scaling down the statue’s size and by melting down brass scrap from Army stocks. When the work was completed, there was the problem of finding a vehicle capable of transporting it from Tucson to the fort. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Preservationists work to recognize subdivisions built for blacks

[Source: Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Associated Press] — Young, working-class and black, Henry Bolden Jr. was not the kind of person who bought a new house in 1946, even in the North. But Bolden was also a U.S. Army veteran who’d spent World War II driving supply trucks in Belgium and France. With help from the GI Bill, he was able to buy his house in a Columbus neighborhood that was revolutionary in its day: Hanford Village, an enclave of single-family homes marketed solely to blacks. “I would have been stuck, like a lot of other people are still stuck, renting houses in the poor, rundown neighborhoods,” said Bolden, who at 82 still lives in the same small house on the city’s east side.

Some of the early black homeowner neighborhoods around the country are trying to win historic recognition before their place in the history of homeownership fades. The residents want to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which would make them eligible for federal tax credits or grants for historic preservation. The designation doesn’t protect against demolition but requires anyone involved with a federally funded project, including developers, to take the listing into consideration when the work could endanger the structure. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]