Buffalo Soldiers once roamed prairie lands in the latter half of the 1800’s. Out of respect, Native Americans bestowed the name “Buffalo Soldiers” to 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments said Naperville City Councilman Benny White.
“They got the name ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ because the buffalo was such an important animal for the Native Americans,” said White. “Looking at our soldiers the color of their skin, kind of the texture of their hair it just made them want to call them like the buffalos. They had a lot of respect for them.”
In total, White has about 15 prints of Buffalo Soldiers in his collection. The limited prints can fetch a pretty penny, but for White they’re priceless.
White’s Admiration For Buffalo Soldiers
A retired Lieutenant Colonel, who served 22 years in the Army, White said Buffalo Soldiers like Henry Flipper, the first Black graduate of West Point, and contemporary Buffalo Solider General Colin Powel the first African American to hold the title of Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff and Secretary of State, laid down the foundation for him to be successful.
“I really admire these guys because these are trailblazers for me,” said White. “I was able to go into the military and have a successful career. I look at folks who had to go through a lot of stuff in order for me to be in a position to be successful.”
Stories Behind The Prints
Some of the prints tell the stories of war. This print, by Don Stivers dubbed ‘Home at Last’, shows the happiness soldiers have when finally being in the arms of loved ones.
One print in particular has a much deeper meaning for White. “A Day of Honor” by Stivers, was given to White by the wife of one his best friend who passed away.
“It’s a very significant print for because all of the stuff that it means as far as my friend, who passed, his son and family, and so on,” said White. “A lot of significance.”
Significance, history, and honor – the legacy of Buffalo Solider marches on today.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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