Opening of the Buffalo Soldier exhibit at the DuPont Historical Museum | Article
DUPONT, Wash. (June 1, 2022) – A new Buffalo Soldier exhibit commemorating the 1904 Ninth Cavalry encampment has officially opened at the DuPont Historical Museum located near Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash. Washington, with an inauguration ceremony. by service members, veterans and community residents.
The DuPont Historical Society and Friends of DuPont Buffalo Soldier History have invited Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, commanding general of the U.S. First Corps, as a guest speaker to mark the occasion.
“This exhibit serves as a reminder of the power of hope,” said Lt. Gen. Brunson. “I think how hard life was for the Buffalo Soldiers. Hope drives us. Hope moves us. The necessary component of life is hope. If you have hope, there is nothing you cannot do.
The Buffalo Soldiers were six all-black regiments formed in 1866 after the Civil War. They were later consolidated into the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 23rd and 24th Infantry, stationed throughout Washington State at the turn of the century.
In 1904, the Buffalo Soldiers came to DuPont for a nationally significant military exercise that led to the establishment of Camp Lewis, now known as JBLM. They practiced tactical problems, including attack and defense, amphibious invasions, and cavalry and artillery actions.
Buffalo Soldier re-enactors wearing replica guns, a live horse, authentic uniforms and spirits attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We like to think of ourselves as living historians,” said Geordan Newbill, president of Buffalo Soldiers of Seattle. “Our job is really to play the role of the Buffalo Soldiers. When we are in uniform, our year is 1904.”
In July 1904, the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers rode across Stampede Pass on horseback to participate in the first joint integrated exercises in U.S. history, American Lake Maneuvers in what is now DuPont, Steilacoom, Lakewood, and Camp Murray . Still facing prejudice, lower pay and violent protests, they served with distinction and remarkable courage, both at home and abroad.
“It’s our story,” Brunson said. “It’s not just a Buffalo Soldier story; it’s an American story.
Other guest speakers included Carol Estep, President of the DuPont Historical Society, Ron Frederick, Mayor of DuPont, Maria Gudaitis, Friends of DuPont Buffalo Soldier History, and Lt. Col. Victor McGee, Steilacoom High School JROTC.
The mission of the DuPont Historical Society is to preserve, interpret and promote the historical heritage of the City of DuPont and surrounding areas for present and future generations. The DuPont Historical Museum tells the story of the unique role DuPont played in the development of Washington State and the Puget Sound region.