-Photo by Terry Miller
The New Buffalo Soldiers are riding up to the Monrovia Historical Museum. Mark Still of the Museum said, “It’s been a long time since we had the Cavalry gallop up and down Lemon Avenue in this part of the West…” The New Buffalo Soldiers are helping Monrovia commemorate the contributions of one of the original Buffalo Soldiers of the early 20th century: Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth. Allensworth died in Monrovia exactly one hundred years ago on September 14, 1914. KGEM’s Ralph Walker said, “On Sept 14, 2014, Monrovia wants to commemorate the life and contributions of this American visionary.”
The New Buffalo Soldiers are dedicated to educating the public about the contributions of Black men in the development of the Western frontier. They are also riding in the 2015 Rose Parade. The original Buffalo Soldiers – also known as the Negro Cavalry – was established as a unit of the United States Army in 1866. In that time of Jim Crow segregation, the Buffalo Soldiers had difficult assignments in the Indian Wars, in the Philippines, and in Mexico. In the early 20th century, they were also national park rangers. In fact, Smokey the Bear’s campaign hat is the same design as the hat the Buffalo Soldiers wore.
One of the Buffalo Soldiers’ leaders and the highest ranking African American in the military at that time was Lt. Colonel Allen Allensworth, chaplain for the 24th Infantry Regiment. “Allensworth wanted to build a Tuskeegee Institute in California,” said Walker, “This former slave wanted to give Blacks educational, economic and political opportunity.” Mark Still continued, “Allensworth was the first pastor of our Second Baptist Church here in Monrovia. Second Baptist has served the community over 110 years.” The current bishop of Second Baptist, Dr. William LaRue Dillard, said, “Allensworth is a historic figure in this state, and his legacy will live on, even in Monrovia.”
Aside from the New Buffalo Soldiers, the September 14 program at the Museum will feature Mayor Lutz and City Councilmembers; Thomas Stratton, President of Friends of Allensworth; Steven Baker, Monrovia’s Historian; and former Duarte Mayor Lois Gaston representing Second Baptist Church. This special event will be from 1:30 to 3:30 pm and is free to the public. Just follow the Cavalry on Lemon Avenue.