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A Dream Realized

Since 2007 there were a few efforts to create some sort of memorial to honor the Buffalo Soldiers and showcase their exploits in Arizona.  Many concerned citizens recognized that there were no monuments or museums in the Tucson representative of contributions Black Americans made in settling Southern Arizona and the West.  Citizens wanted to see something that preserved and recognized the important contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers who were stationed in Arizona.  In 2014, Councilmember (CM) Richard Fimbres, Ward 5, met with troopers of  the Great Southern Arizona Area Chapter of Buffalo Soldiers and things began to move in a good direction.  Even though it would take time (years), and a few setbacks, this partnership proved to have success through a series of activities and initiatives.

In 2015, City of Tucson Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres and members of the Greater Southern Arizona Area Chapter (GSAAC) began to pursue public funding for the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial project. Although the Pima County bond program was not approved by voters that year, the team decided to regroup, revise, and reinvent the memorial plan. In 2017, CM Fimbres received an arts grant from the Arts Foundation for a student project, and funds were used to commission three murals to be painted by the students from Ward 5, one of which was the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial displayed at the entrance of the Quincie Douglas Neighborhood Center. In 2018, Tucson Marble and Granite was awarded a contract to design the granite memorial monument to be placed at the memorial site, in coordination with the Ward 5 office and Tucson Parks and Recreation. In June, the GSAAC membership voted to fund  the memorial monument with a sizable donation from the chapter's treasury.  CM Fimbres continued to lobby for funding for the memorial and was able to get the project into the Tucson Delivers Great Parks + Strong Connections, proposition 407 bond program, which was successfully approved by voters in November 2018.

In 2019, members of the GSAAC met with representatives of the City of Tucson and Ward 5 council office to start the memorial plaza planning process.  The City hired Wheat Design Group to begin planning and design. In August, the GSAAC made a down payment to Tucson Mable and Granite company for the memorial granite monument. In 2020, the project team finalized the plans for the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial plaza. The City hired M. Anderson Construction as the contractor and the groundbreaking took place on October 29, 2020.  Plaza construction continued until final completion in late April 2021 when the granite monument was hoisted into its current location. The official unveiling and memorial dedication was held on May 3, 2021.


A Dream Realized




The Tucson Buffalo Soldier Memorial Plaza area will display the rich history of honorable service of the Buffalo Soldiers in settling the Southwestern United States.  Here are some of the planned features:

  1. A granite (North American Pink) monument highlighting the black soliders known as the "Buffalo Soldiers,"  short bios of the three black soldiers who earned Medal of Honor while serving in Arizona, a map of the forts, camps and locations where the Buffalo Soldiers served in Arizona and highlights of the four regiments made up of black soldiers that were stationed at Fort Hauchuca.

  2. Six historical pedestals highlighting additional historical information on the Buffalo Soldiers.

  3. Landing scaping, vegetation, a seatwall, benches and sail shades.

Other Memorial Features

Symbols - The memorial will tell a story through architecture, sculpture, landscaping and words to educate and inspire visitors about the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers.  Here are a few symbol examples:

Service - A description key within the memorial will note the regiments and divisions of the negro troops.

Sacrifice - This element will ensure that the Buffalo Soldiers are recognized for the hardships they had to endure and overcome.

Accomplishments - This element will ensure that the Buffalo Soldiers are    recognized and validated for their accomplishments and contributions to America.

Theaters of War - A description key within the memorial will note the wars and events that the Buffalo Soldiers participated in.


Black Soldiers In the West: A Proud Tradition

During the Civil War over 180,000 Black Americans served in the Union Army and Navy. More than 33,000 died.  After the war, the future of black men in the nation’s military was in doubt.  In 1866, however, Congress authorized black Americans to serve in the peacetime army of the United States in segregated units mostly commanded by white officers.  Two cavalry and four infantry regiments were created and designated the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments and the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st Infantry Regiments.



Brief historical highlights of the 9th and 10th Calvaries and the 24th and 25th Infanties including their unit insignas.

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Where They Served

Inlay of map of Arizona identifying the Forts/Camps where the   Buffalo Soldier units served along with significant sites of Buffalo Soldiers events. The four Buffalo Soldiers regiments coat of arms will be prominently displayed as shown below. Also, all four regimental units (9th and 10th Calvary and the 24th and 25th Infantry) were garrisoned at Fort Huachuca, AZ at one time or another. Fort Huachuca is the only military installation to have this distinction.



Medal of Honor (MOH) historical introduction followed by short biographical overviews of the three Buffalo Soldiers who earned the MOH in AZ and the actions that led to the MOH award.



​​​​​​​The choice of North American Pink is conducive to the “high temperature summer” environment.  The shape of the monument is trapezoid.  The monument design lends itself to telling the history of the Buffalo Soldiers. The memorial monument has three pieces:

  • The foundation base will be used to provide stability

  • The middle granite piece will provide the public with a short Buffalo Soldiers abbreviated historical overview on the front, identify the four Army units known as the Buffalo Soldiers on the back, show the Arizona locations where these soldiers served on one side and identify the Buffalo Soldier who earned the Medal of Honor in Arizona on the other side.

  • The top granite block piece will identify the name of  the memorial, the "Tucson Community Buffalo Soldiers Memorial." The GSAAC and 9th and 10th (Horse) Calvary  National Association logos will be place on each side. 

  • On the back of the top piece will show the inscription by Frederick Douglas.



The construction was of Tucson Buffalo Soldier Memorial Plaza was a amazing acommplishment.  The groung breaking for the project took place on October 29, 2020 and the memorial was dedicated on May 3, 2021.  Just under six months!  The following photo progression is provided for your review:

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