HONOLULU (KHON2) – July 28 is observed as Buffalo Soldiers Day, a day to commemorate the formation of the first Army regiments comprised of Black and African American Soldiers.
In 1866 the U.S. Congress passed the Army Organization Act which allowed former slaves to serve during the Civil War.
Hawaii has a lot of a history when it comes to Buffalo Solders. After Hawaii became a Territory in 1900, the U.S. established Schofield Barracks on Oahu where it then became home to the 25th Infantry Regiment from 1913-1918.
The brave soldiers of the 25th were all Black and were one of four combat units of Black and African American soldiers whose history stretched back to the Civil War.
These Black soldiers were then nicknamed “Buffalo Soldiers,” where several companies of the 25th took leave at Kilauea between 1915-1917.
Back then Hawaii Volcano National Park was called Hawaii National Park, and the men sent to Kilauea were asked to build a 27-mile-long trail from the summit of Kilauea at 4,000ft to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet.
On top of building the trail to the summit, Hawaii Volcano NP said these men also assisted geologists by measuring the depth of lava within Halema’uma’u Crater.
While men built the Mauna Loa Trail in 1915, other Buffalo Soldiers spent time at Kilauea.
Hawaii Volcano National Park wants to celebrate Buffalo Soldiers Day by educating the public on the rich history this national park has and the role these soldiers had on their park.
For more information about the different Buffalo Soldiers who visited and helped shaped Hawaii Volcano National Park head to their website.