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Retired Marine, Maj. Gen. Cornell Wilson Jr., keynote speaker, addresses the attendees of the 2017 Black History Program at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Boyett Park Amphitheater, here, Feb. 8. Speaking to the theme: “Buffalo Soldiers, We Can, We Will! Ready Forward!,” Wilson, secretary, Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, State of North Carolina, recapped historical moments, honored members of the 9th and 10th Calvary Regiments and discussed their impact on African Americans in the military.

Photo by Verda L. Parker

Lest ye forget: Black History Program commemorates Buffalo Soldiers’ heritage

10 Feb 2017 | Verda L. Parker Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Despite an overcast, breezy day, personnel aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany filled the bleachers at Boyett Park’s amphitheater, here, to participate in the 2017 Black History Program, Feb. 8.


The focus for the celebration was to commemorate the heritage and 150-year legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers of the U.S. Calvary’s 9th and 10th Regiments and their impact on American history.


Colonel James C. Carroll III, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, welcomed attendees to the annual event.


“I can’t think of a better day to come together, than to recognize our rich history and our legacy,” Carroll said. “I too, like many of you, stand on the shoulders of giants; giants who have already gone before us, and even giants present. If it were not for their efforts, I likely would not be here today. So, today is a great day to recognize that.


“Thank you for giving of your time to come out,” he added. “If we choose to overlook and dismiss history, we know that we will repeat it in some form or fashion. I want to thank you all for coming out to help us to celebrate this day, which reminds us of all of our history in this great country. Coming together as a combined people, in unity despite the past, the history, let’s enjoy today’s program; it’s put on for each one of us. Let’s take something from it; let’s learn and go out and share it with others.”


Keynote speaker for the occasion was retired Marine, Maj. Gen. Cornell Wilson Jr., secretary, Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, State of North Carolina.


“I’m pleased to be here today to give you a few remarks,” Wilson said. “Lest you forget, the tagline for the dedication for the Buffalo Soldiers’ Monument in Fort Leavenworth, in 1992, is the brain child of Gen. Colin Powell, the first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to commemorate the significant contribution of the 9th and 10th Calvary Regiment.


“(Powell) found this out as he was jugging around the post at Fort Leavenworth,” Wilson pointed out. “He came across two gravel roads named after the 9th and 10th Calvary Regiments. At the dedication ceremony, he said, ‘I wonder if here on this historic post in Kansas, where the 10th Calvary did so much of its garrison life and the center of the region where the 9th and 10th Calvary spilled so much of its blood, if these gravel alleyways are all that signifies their presence.”


From there, the speaker recapped and highlighted other African-American pioneers, who paved the way for growth within the ranks throughout our nation's military fighting force, in every branch of service, across color and gender lines to protect our freedoms.


Among the program participants were retired Marine, Major Kenneth Stutely, who read a chronology of some events from Buffalo Soldiers history; members of the Albany State University Gospel Choir and Freedom Singer Rutha Mae Harris, who rendered music selections during the activity.


To view more photos from the event, visit MCLB Albany’s Facebook page at:

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