Congress approved the first all-black units in the regular army in 1867. These soldiers, known as “buffalo soldiers” or the U.S. Colored Troops, served in the West and made up the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments as well as the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments. Their nickname came from Native Americans, who believed their short curly hair was similar to that on the buffalo’s neck and that their brave and fierce fighting matched that of the buffalo. Eleven black soldiers earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in combat against Utes, Apaches, and Comanches. Soldiers served in black regiments until the integration of U.S. forces in 1952. A monument honoring the buffalo soldiers was unveiled at Fort Leavenworth in 1992.
Ninth Cavalry non-commissioned officers of the U.S. Army had their picture taken at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, in 1889. Along with the 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments, they were nicknamed “buffalo soldiers” by Native Americans because their hair reminded them of the curly hair of bison.