July 28 was National Buffalo Soldier Day, commemorating the black men who served in the segregated regiments of the U.S. Army from 1866 to 1951, and in Pomona there is an exhibit about the Buffalo Soldiers that is on display through July 31 at the Cultural Center of Community Alliance, 40 W. St. second.
Donna Jackson-Houston, a member of the Pomona Community Life Commission, was involved in organizing the exhibit, and she has a personal connection to the Buffalo Soldiers.
The exhibit features articles and photos of some of the men who were Buffalo Soldiers in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry stationed at Camp Little, Ariz., including Jackson-Houston’s grandfather, Lucius Franklin Monroe Jackson.
“My family and I only recently discovered this historical fact. Last year I read an article that my grandfather had come to Nogales in 1918 as a buffalo soldier to secure and patrol the U.S. border,” Jackson-Hunter said in a press release. “With this new discovery, I thought that it was vital to know not only my grandfather, but also the other black soldiers who fought for our country.”
With the help of family members and community leaders in Nogales, Jackson-Houston organized a three-day celebration last January of Buffalo Soldiers stationed at Camp Little, many of whom settled in Nogales and raised families there.
The celebration included a program in downtown Nogales, a cemetery salute and a museum exhibit.
After the Nogales event, the exhibit traveled to Pomona and opened at the African American Beginnings Museum over the Juneteenth holiday weekend.
During the opening ceremony, officials including Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval, Pomona City Council members and Andrea Moreno from the office of Los Angeles 1st District Supervisor Hilda Solis presented certificates of recognition. Others in attendance were Darren Knowles, interim superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District and members of the school district’s Board of Trustees.
Brooklyn High School student Swodeck presented a piece of art she created honoring the Buffalo Soldiers, and speakers included David Judah Oliver, poet laureate of Pomona, and Malcolm Green, a retired Pomona history teacher.
Donna Jackson-Houston is the founder and president of the Nogales Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association. The association’s mission is to partner with schools and communities across the country to educate and inform and highlight the accomplishments of Buffalo Soldiers.
For information about the association, go to NogalesBuffalosoldiers.org.
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