Arago: Buffalo Soldiers Issue

Buffalo Soldiers Issue

The Postal Service saluted the Buffalo Soldiers with the issuance of a 29-cent commemorative stamp on April 22, 1994, in Dallas, Texas, the official First Day city. This issuance was held in conjunction with the Seventh National Convention of the Afro-American Postal Leaders United for Success. Also on April 22, Buffalo Soldiers stamps and pictorial cancellation was available in Leavenworth, Kansas; San Angelo, Texas; and Sierra Vista, Arizona.

In 1886, Congress authorized the formation of six black regiments — two cavalry (9th and 10th) and four infantry (38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st). The infantry units were later consolidated and re-designated as the 24th and 25th infantries. These soldiers became known as the 'Buffalo Soldiers.'

Over several decades, Buffalo Soldiers served in forts throughout the United States, including Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. They endured bitter hardships and often received inferior food, equipment, and horses. However, they received the highest number (eighteen) of Congressional Medals of Honor and had the lowest desertion rate of any army unit from 1867 to 1898. In addition to engaging in several skirmishes with Native Americans, they confronted outlaws, desperados, protected stage and railway lines, guarded frontiersmen against bandits and cattle rustlers, and rescued Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War.

Native Americans bestowed the name Buffalo Soldiers upon the black soldiers. Although the reason for the name is uncertain, one theory suggests that the buffalo represented strength and courage — the same spirit they saw in the black soldiers. Another theory implies that Native Americans thought that the black man's hair resembled the mane of the buffalo. Black soldiers accepted the name Buffalo Soldiers as a badge of honor, and the buffalo was made a part of the 10th Cavalry's regimental crest.

The stamps were designed by Mort Kuntsler and printed in the combination offset/intaglio process by the Stamp Venturers, Inc., and were issued in panes of twenty.


Postal Bulletin (April 14, 1994).

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