February is the month to celebrate achievements made by African Americans in past generations. Some would say that buildings and inventions, government laws, and the views that different races have of one another in America have evolved from accomplishments of African Americans.
There was Bessie Coleman, the world’s first black female licensed pilot. There were also the Tuskegee Airmen, a selected group of black pilots that flew planes during WWII. Then there were Buffalo soldiers, the first black group of men composed of slaves and freedmen; that were chosen after the Civil War.
Buffalo soldiers originated in the western part of the United States; they were in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and the Dakotas. They were anxious to be selected by Congress to defend the country because they believed that it would bring more money and job opportunities to the black race. They also believed that Congress establishing black troops would give all African Americans equal civil rights.
Succumbing to discrimination, the soldiers fought in battles without proper clothing, food, and artillery. They performed their jobs despite not being treated equally to white and Indian soldiers.
During Black History Month, the first Buffalo Soldier G.I. Joe action figure will be available for people to purchase.
According to blackenterprise.com, the first buffalo soldier will be First Lieutenant John R. Fox; he received the Medal of Honor, which is the highest award given to an individual in the Armed forces.
Sandra Jackson, a graduate student in Michigan says, “It’s a good way to introduce young children who have not had the exposure or knowledge of who the Buffalo soldiers were. Putting it in the form of a toy will make it enjoyable for children; it serves a dual purpose.”
Buffalo soldiers contributed to America by building roads, schools, and buildings in the southwest, taking their duty seriously. They pulled men out of danger, defended their troop against enemies, and followed all orders delegated to them.
“The G.I. Joe brand and its Medal of Honor series pays tribute to not only famous war heroes but also the everyday soldiers who have amazing and moving stories of unselfish heroism,” Billy Lagor, director at Hasbro’s G.I. Joe brand told Black Enterprise reporters.
The Buffalo Soldier action figure is being marketed as a device to show people that African Americans efforts in American History are not over looked.
“Looking at the toy makes me realize how proud black people were of their country even though they were segregated and not seen as truly members of their country," says Kineta Taylor, sophomore student at Wabash Valley College.
According to the various feelings people have, the Buffalo Soldier action figure seems to be more than just a toy, but a symbol of another African American accomplishment.