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Ceremony Saturday for Buffalo Soldiers

Citizen Staff Writer



The Tucson Buffalo Soldier Monument Committee will hold a dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday for a monument that will honor Buffalo Soldiers. The dedication is part of the African American Heritage Celebration event at Quincie Douglas Library, 1575 E. 36th St.

The Buffalo Soldiers were members of the all-black 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments sent to the West after the Civil War.

They helped shape the history of the West through the Spanish-American War. The 10th spent time in Arizona in the 1880s as part of the effort to capture Apaches who had illegally left their reservation, including Geronimo.

The ceremony will “specifically bring awareness to the monument,” said Sammie Parker, chairman of the committee. “As much work as these men did, they deserve something.”

A sketch of the monument by local artist Robert Jackson will be unveiled and a brief presentation on the Buffalo Soldiers will be given.

In 2006, Parker, 56, spearheaded planning for the monument, to be built on land north of Quincie Douglas Library.

Parker and South Tucson City Court Judge Ronald Wilson created the monument’s basic design.

Denver Sculptor Ed Dwight, known for his work on African-American history and culture, was asked to do the project by Parker. Dwight estimated the monument will cost $1 million.

Half of the money still needs to be raised.

Donations for the project have come from several sources, Parker said.

Parker has worked with Quincie Douglas Library Manager Elba Smithwhite to raise awareness of the project.

Smithwhite said she was researching Buffalo Soldier historical groups when she read about the monument committee and realized that the monument was going to be built near her library.

The monument will likely be 100 feet by 100 feet and will sit outside a glass wall of the library. It will have a large statue of Col. Charles Young, one of the first black graduates of West Point and an officer in 9th and 10th cavalries. There will be smaller statues of other Buffalo Soldiers and two history walls.

“African-Americans were major contributors to the West. They were left out of the history books. I would like to put them in the history books and I’m not a writer, but I can build a monument,” Parker said.

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