Hidden History: Educating students on the Buffalo soldiers

Black History Month

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Dozens of students from College Heights Elementary in East Bakersfield celebrated Black History Month and paid tribute to influential African Americans throughout history during an assembly Thursday morning. 

“Our mission is to go out and teach,” said Charles Everley. “It’s not enough to say that people don’t know without going out there to teach them. “

Everley is with the Bakersfield’s Buffalo Soldiers. 

“They were founded in 1866, right after the civil war,” said Everley. “They were part of the expansion to the west. They founded most of our national parks. They fought Indians, they were the more outstanding in the U.S. military.”

They were six all-black units created by the united states army after the civil war serving on the western frontier, battling native Americans and protecting settlers.

“We have a glorious history of service, courageous, character and leadership,” said Everley.

However, they don’t make much of an appearance in our history books.

“Most of our students, as well as our teachers, aren’t aware of who the buffalo soldiers are,” said Elizabeth Gonzalez, an academic coach at College Heights Elementary School.

Gonzalez wanted to help change that. 

“The importance [of this assembly] is for students to know how important African Americans are to our history, how they contributed to our history and to honor them so that they know that we are very grateful,” said Gonzalez.

She organized a school-wide assembly to educate students on it. The first half of the presentation focused on introducing students to who the buffalo soldiers were. The second part educated the students on the many contributions African Americans had on commonly used items we use now. 

“The invention of the clock, the invention of the flashlight, of the cellphone, all those devices that people use every day and let people know that black people are part of history and their contribution,” said Everley.

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