A little known chapter in the history of Yosemite National Park involves the black cavalry who tended the park at the beginning of the 20th Century. These men were part of legacy known as Buffalo Soldiers.
Their roots go back to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas when the 10th Cavalry Regiment, US Army was formed in September, 1866. The source of the name is uncertain and could have been from their fierce fighting ability or because of their dark curly hair, which resembled that of a buffalo.
In 1903, over 400 Buffalo Soldiers were sent from San Francisco (on horseback) to support the recently formed National Parks of Yosemite and Sequoia. They watched for illegal grazing, hunted poachers, built infrastructure, improved roads, escorted mail, managed fires and kept order in the parks.
The Yosemite Arboretum was built by the soldiers in 1904. Later, the Buffalo Soldiers build the first trail up Mt. Whitney. Today at the park, Ranger Shelton Johnson tells the story of the soldiers to visitors. He dresses in the ranger’s period costume.
Related thought worth quoting: “Buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta. There was a buffalo soldier in the heart of america. Stolen from africa, brought to america, fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.” – Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com