MLK March 2024 spotlight: Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers Association honors trailblazers

Thousands of those participating in the MLK Day March and Celebration have marched with their organizations for years.

One of the groups, the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers Association, has participated in the march since 2000.

Turner McGarity with the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers Association told KSAT they march because it’s important to remind people about the trailblazers who came before Martin Luther King Jr.

The group is dedicated to educating our community about the history of these brave men and a woman, who was part of the original infantry regiments.

After the Civil War, the U.S. military created these infantries for Black soldiers to help keep the peace during the Indian Wars in 1866.

The Buffalo Soldiers fought through World War II until the military was integrated. McGarity said they march to inspire and remind people about this trailblazing group.

“We look back on the Buffalo Soldiers as the first trailblazers for the civil rights movement,” McGarity said. “That’s the way I look at it. Had they not been there to do those things, we would’ve never had the opportunity to have a Dr. King come along to show us the right way to fight out the wrongs that had been done.”

Bernice Brown is one of two women in the association. She represents Cathay Williams, an African American woman who enlisted in the U.S. Army under the name William Cathay in 1866 with the Buffalo Soldiers. Brown said she continues to march yearly to show other women to never give up.

“I hope they get inspired by seeing that against all odds, whatever the age, whatever the century, whatever the decades the time, don’t give up. Get a goal, get a dream and follow it,” Brown said.

The group usually is on horseback but unfortunately, because of the cold temperatures, they will not be bringing their horses out for the 2024 march.

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