For years the Buffalo Soldiers Committee and especially Anthony Powell, David Wilkins have been working on the Buffalo Soldiers Project. Our first aim was to bring awareness to the everyone about the existence of over 455 Buffalo Soldiers at the Presidio. They are all buried at the Veterans Administration cemetery right in the middle of the Presidio of San Francisco.
Our second aim was to establish a permanent exhibit. Towards that end we held cultural events every year for the past 6 years and educated the public about the Buffalo Soldiers.
20 years back when the Army ran Fort Point, Anthony Powell created the Buffalo Soldiers exhibit at Fort Point. Today, his name has been removed and those that run the establishment have taken credit for the exhibit. The pity is that over the years the exhibit has not been maintained and today the exhibit is in very poor shape.
In 1994, the Post Office released the famous Buffalo Soldier stamps. On this occasion there was an exhibit of Buffalo Soldiers at building 2 on the Presidio of San Francisco. Also, an encampment in the Fort Scott area very near building 682 and just above the Presidio Horse Stables buildings 661 and 662. This was all paid for by Anthony Powell but the National Park Service took credit for all the publicity and hard work.
In 1994 I organized a Multicultural Event where we took a bold stand and honored the Native American and the Buffalo Soldiers. We did this to first rightly honor both the Native American and the African American. We further wanted to dispel the notion that Buffalo Soldiers killed Native Americans and were hated by Native Americans. This is not true.
Tom Philips the Native American Chief spoke eloquently and praised the Buffalo Soldiers. The Buffalo Soldiers were named after the sacred Buffalo and the Buffalo Soldiers were loved and respected by the Native American Tribes. Not one Native American was killed in anger. Again and again Buffalo Soldiers treated the Native American tribes with great respect. To this day many tribes still remember the famous Buffalo Soldiers. Tom Philips spoke so eloquently that to this day many remember his words.
In 1998 on the 4th of July a Buffalo Soldiers Celebration was held at the Presidio Officers' Club. Four living Buffalo Soldiers attended the celebration and they were all honored by Mayor Willie Brown. Over 1500 attended this function.
One year later, July 1999 we are looking forward to creating a first class Buffalo Soldiers exhibit at the Herbst Exhibition Hall, building 385 on the Presidio of San Francisco.
We have an ongoing small exhibit of Buffalo Soldiers at the Presidio Alliance, building 563 one of the buildings linked to the Buffalo Soldiers. This exhibit has and will be in place for some months kindness of the Presidio Alliance and Mr Henry Dakin.
The proposed, full blown Buffalo Soldiers exhibit at the Herbst Exhibition Hall should be in place in a couple of months and last till we are ready to move into a permanent place. At this time we are targeting building 2. Building 2 has always been a museum for decades and lends itself perfectly to honor the Buffalo Soldiers.
The Trust is of the opinion that this building should be brought up to par and meet all building requirements that the Trust sets for the other tenants.
The Herbst Exhibition Hall comes under the jurisdiction of the Lower Fort Mason Foundation. The Fort Mason Foundation is very familiar with Anthony Powell Buffalo Soldiers exhibit because he was its best tenant for years at Lower Fort Mason a couple of years ago.
After the exhibit moved out of Lower Fort Mason, the exhibit went on a National Tour and it is still booked till the year 2002. Today, Anthony Powell having established his traveling tour can look forward to establishing a permanent Buffalo Soldiers exhibit. The Presidio lends itself as a perfect setting. There is not one single entity that addresses, the long military history of the Presidio on the Presidio of San Francisco. The Buffalo Soldiers were part and parcel of this long military history. The Buffalo Soldiers stand tall and will inspire everyone.
The community is behind this project and thousands of signatures have been collected. Again and again the local newspapers, institutions, leaders, and the people themselves have backed the Buffalo Soldiers Project.
Our time has come. At last we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Buffalo Soldiers never die they just ride away. Their spirit lives amongst us and every day interest in the Buffalo Soldiers grows. This is right and just.