African American soldiers of the post Civil War period played a major role in the Indian wars out West and were also active in Cuba and the Philippines. After the Civil War, one in five soldiers in the U.S. Army was black. These black soldiers fought in eighty-five percent of the entanglements with Native Americans. In the West, the Buffalo Soldiers' duties extended beyond warfare; they built or rebuilt army posts, strung miles of telegraph wire, patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border, escorted settlers, protected herds of cattle and loads of mail, assisted railroad crews and patrolled and helped develop the national parks. Hollywood has glamorized the Old West with images of the Cavalry coming to the rescue. In reality, the majority of those soldiers were most likely black.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Emerson Gallery will present several public programs. On February 2, there will be a reception at the Gallery to celebrate the exhibition and the start of Black History Month. Three films will also be offered: the landmark Birth of a Nation (1915) will be presented on January 21, Oscar Micheaux's Body and Soul (1924) will be shown on February 3, and John Ford's Sergeant Rutledge (1960) on February 10. On February 18, Marcy Sacks, Visiting Instructor of History, will present a slide-illustrated lecture, When the South Won the Civil War: Northern Fears and Nostalgia for the `Old Darkey'. For further information, times, and locations see enclosed Program.
The Emerson Gallery is located on the campus of Hamilton College, in Christian Johnson Hall, directly behind the college chapel. The Gallery is wheelchair accessible. Gallery hours are weekdays, 12-5, weekends, 1-5, during scheduled exhibitions. For further information, contact the Emerson Gallery at 315 859-4396.