Brief History

African American Military Museum in Houston, TX

A Brief History of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (BSNM), a non-profit 501(c)(3) institution, was founded in 2001 by Vietnam veteran, Captain Paul J. Matthews.  Major Charles Williams, United States Army Retired, serves as the Museum's Chief Docent.  BSNM is the only museum dedicated primarily to preserving the legacy and honor of the African-American soldier in defense of the United States of America from the Revolutionary War to present. The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is a proud member of the Houston Museum District and the Midtown Cultural Arts District. The museum is also a proud member of the Greater Houston Conventions and Visitors Bureau, Greater Houston Partnership and the Better Business Bureau.

The Beginning

African Americans have served proudly in every great American war. In 1866, through an act of Congress, legislation was adopted to create six all African American Army units. The units were identified as the 9th and 10th cavalry and the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st infantry regiments. The four infantry regiments were later reorganized to form the 24th and 25th infantry regiments.

These fighting men represented the first Black professional soldiers in a peacetime army. The recruits came from varied backgrounds including former slaves and veterans from service in the Civil War.

The Nickname

It is espoused by some historians that the nickname buffalo soldiers began with the Cheyenne warriors in 1867. The actual Cheyenne translation was Wild Buffalo. The nickname was given out of respect and the fierce fighting ability of the 10th cavalry. Overtime, Buffalo Soldiers became a generic term for all African American soldiers.

Mission Statement: The mission of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (BSNM) is to educate the public and to preserve, promote and perpetuate the history, tradition and outstanding contributions of America's Buffalo Soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the present.

BSNM achieves its mission through its educational programs, historic research, the arts, the environment, school tours, performing arts, teacher workshops; youth outreach programs, school appearances, and exhibits.  The museum creates and disseminates knowledge about the history of the Buffalo Soldiers and their service in the defense and development of America.




  • In its first year of operation, the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum had over 20,000 visitors.
  • In recognition of the museum’s contributions to its surrounding community and all of Houston, Houston Mayor Lee P. Brown proclaimed November 30, 2001 as Buffalo Soldiers Day.
  • The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum has conducted and preserved interviews with the last Buffalo Soldiers, from World War II, Troopers Galvan, Joseph, Brown and Powell.
  • The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is a participant in the Veteran’s Registry Initiative with Texas Southern University and the Library of Congress.
  • The Buffalo Soldiers Museum has commissioned a play, “Ain’t Nobody Going to Turn Me ‘Round’”. It has been produced for Houston-area social, civic and religious organizations.
  • The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum conducts a Fellowship Program with Prairie View A&M University.
  • On March 2, 2001 the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum was issued a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from U.S. Congresswoman Ms. Sheila Jackson Lee.