Monday, March 12, 2012

Buffalo Soldiers Visit Johnson Elementary

Buffalo Soldiers in class. The past came alive recently for second graders in Janice Anderson's second grade classroom at Johnson Elementary when members of the famed Buffalo Soldiers unit of the U.S. Army visited from the late-1800s.

Although dressed in period uniforms, the visitors were actually Carl Wright, Shelley White, John Roper and Robert Joyce. Wright and White are sons of original Buffalo Soldiers; all are members of the the San Diego Chapter Buffalo Soldiers -- 9th and 10th Cavalry Association, an organization that helps keep the memory alive of two cavalry units and two all-black infantry regiments that were part of the Army from 1866 to the 1950s.

The second graders learned another part of the integration struggle, as this all-Black unit helped protect settlers, cattle herds and railroad crews in the west.

"I think the students better understand that the fight for integration did not begin in with only during the life of Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, but in actually many years before with groups like the Buffalo Soldiers," said Ms. Anderson.

They wore the uniforms of the Buffalo Soldiers and showed photographs. History came alive via a lesson that was engaging, relevant to the student’s interests, and appropriate to their age level. After the lesson, the Buffalo Soldiers held a question-and-answer session, and two students won Buffalo Soldiers t-shirts, which they wore with pride.

The San Diego Chapter Buffalo Soldiers – 9th and 10th Cavalry Association is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that helps in educating the public about the existence of the Buffalo Soldiers while preserving, promoting and perpetuating the history, tradition and outstanding contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers toward the development and defense of the United States of America.

Located in the Emerald Hills neighborhood, Johnson Elementary is a magnet school for students who have curious minds and interests in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The STEM-focused education of the program prepares students for further study in these areas and for careers in this highly sought after career field.

For more information, contact principal Tracey Jenkins-Martin at 619-264-0103.