ENCORE – Legacy of the ‘Buffalo Soldier’ Song

Go Lean Commentary

“Now” is always the right time for great Reggae Music.

The world misses Bob Marley. Not only was he a great musician and entertainer, but a great educator as well. How many people in the Caribbean knew about the ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ in America before he recorded this song?

(Interesting tidbit: the song was released in 1983, after his death in 1981).

This Caribbean family got to stretch our knowledge and appreciation of American History and the Buffalo Soldier in our recent summer vacation to Washington, D.C.. We enjoyed this monument to the original segregated African-American fighting men in the US Army.
CU Blog - Legacy of Buffalo Soldier - Photo 1

CU Blog - Legacy of Buffalo Soldier - Photo 2

Related blog-commentary – A Lesson in History – During the Civil War: Principle over Principal

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - During the Civil War - Principle not Principal - Photo 2

This consideration is presented with an ENCORE of this previous blog-commentary from March 28, 2016 – exactly 1 year ago today. See the previous submission here-now:


Title: A Lesson in History: Buffalo Soldier

Welcome to the New World.

Fighting on arrival; fighting for survival“. – Lyrics from song  Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley.

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Buffalo Soldiers - Photo 1This is the experience of the Pan-African Diaspora in all of the Americas. Truly a sad origin history, “Coming to America” as slaves. And yet, the African race has proliferated in much of the Americas, most notably in the Caribbean, where the one-time slaves emerged as the majority population in 29 of the 30 member-states; (the only other New World non-Caribbean country with a majority Black population is Brazil). After a few turns in world political developments, these majorities now run the governments in most of these Caribbean countries.

It took “blood, sweat and tears” to reach this accomplishment. This connotes military action, warfare and sacrifice. The most prominent of Black fighting men in the history of the New World is the Buffalo Soldier.

Caribbean Music legend Bob Marley is to be credited for educating much of the world with this history. In his landmark song Buffalo Soldier; he sang their praises – see lyrics in Appendix A.

See the VIDEO-AUDIO of the song here:

VIDEO-AUDIO – Bob Marley Buffalo Soldier – https://youtu.be/IEpSBsUjY-0

Uploaded on May 2, 2011 – This song was released post humorously in 1983, after Bob Marley’s death.

Just who were the Buffalo Soldiers and what are their connections to the Caribbean? See  this encyclopedia reference here:

From 1863 to the early 20th century, African American units were utilized by the Army to combat the Native Americans during the Indian Wars.[14] The most noted among this group were the Buffalo Soldiers:

This nickname was given to the “Negro Cavalry” by the Native American tribes they fought in the Indian Wars. The term eventually became synonymous with all of the African American regiments formed in 1866. At the end of the U.S. Civil War the army reorganized and authorized the formation of two regiments of black cavalry (the 9th and 10th US Cavalry). Four regiments of infantry (the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st US Infantry) were formed at the same time. In 1869, the four infantry regiments were merged into two new ones (the 24th and 25th US Infantry). These units were composed of black enlisted men commanded by white officers such as Benjamin Grierson, and occasionally, an African-American officer such as Henry O. Flipper. The “Buffalo Soldiers” served a variety of roles along the frontier from building roads to guarding the U.S. mail.[15]

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Buffalo Soldiers - Photo 2These regiments served at a variety of posts in the southwest United States and Great Plains regions. During this period they participated in most of the military campaigns in these areas and earned a distinguished record. Thirteen enlisted men and six officers from these four regiments earned the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars.[16]

After the Indian Wars ended in the 1890s, the regiments continued to serve and participated in the Spanish–American War (including the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba), where five more Medals of Honor were earned.[17] 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_African_Americans#Indian_Wars retrieved March 28, 2019.

All of the New World , despite their European colonizers – Dutch, English, French, Portuguese or Spanish – was developed on the same economic policy: slavery!

This ugly institution was so entrenched that only a model war would effectuate its abolition permanently. That war was waged in the United States (1861 – 1865) as a proxy to all the New World territories. Shortly thereafter, the institution was abolished in the remaining countries that still maintained it in the region, i.e. Brazil. (The US was not the first; that distinction belong to Haiti, which endured a slave rebellion and battles for emancipation; the Spanish colonies followed shortly there-after, then the French, then the British).

The Buffalo Soldiers are most noteworthy because they fought for dignity for all the African race in the New World, though this was not pronounced in their commission, only now gleaned from their legacy. See Trailer below for one of the many movies.

The movement and underlying book Go Lean … Caribbean asserts that Caribbean people must now consider the weight of history and re-assign these islands and coastal states as their only homeland. As a people, the African Diaspora have fought and paid for these lands; they have shed “blood, sweat and tears” for their New World homelands. The ancestral home of Africa is no longer relevant. We now need to “prosper where we are planted” here in the Caribbean. Bob Marley said it best:

I mean it, when I analyze the stench –
To me it makes a lot of sense:
How the Dreadlock Rasta was the Buffalo Soldier,
And he was taken from Africa, brought to America,
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.

The freedoms we enjoy today, were not free!

They cost our ancestors and predecessors all they had to offer: a full measure of sacrifice and devotion. They gave of their sons and daughters. This is the important lesson to learn in considering the history of these American fighting men. As our ancestors and predecessors, they paid a steep price – “they punched our tickets” – for progress. We must regard their sacrifice.

This is one reason why we must adopt a National Sacrifice community ethos. This vital quality has been missing for far too long. This is why the region has such a deplorable abandonment rate: no [perception of] pain, no gain; no comprehension of sacrifice, no sense of value.

As a region, we must do better. We must discourage the emigration, brain drain and further societal abandonment.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean and accompanying blogs provide lessons from history in considering the fighting men of the American Civil War. The Caribbean region’s debilitating societal abandonment rate – 70 percent of college educated had fled for foreign shores – is proof positive of the absence and lack of this National Sacrifice ethos.

Early in the Go Lean book, this need for careful review of the history of slavery was acknowledged and then placed into perspective with this pronouncement (Declaration of Interdependence – Page 10):

As the history of our region and the oppression, suppression and repression of its indigenous people is duly documented, there is no one alive who can be held accountable for the prior actions, and so we must put aside the shackles of systems of repression to instead formulate efficient and effective systems to steer our own destiny.

As the colonial history of our region was initiated to create economic expansion opportunities for our previous imperial masters, the structures of government instituted in their wake have not fostered the best systems for prosperity of the indigenous people.

So the consideration of the Go Lean book, is to identify and correct all bad community ethos – the fundamental spirit of our culture – and to foster positive community ethos (such as National Sacrifice and deferred gratification). This point was also pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 13) with this statement:

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

This book  Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) to spearhead the elevation of Caribbean society. The book advocates learning lessons from many events and concepts in history, covering all societal engines: economics, security and governance. The roadmap seeks to reboot these engines to ensure that all Caribbean stakeholders have the opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with no abusive exploitation of any ethnic group; no suppression, repression or oppression of any people: African or not!

The Go Lean roadmap seeks to employ “best-practices” to impact the CU prime directives; identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and ensure the respect of human rights and public safety.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book stresses the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to reboot, reform and transform the eco-systems of Caribbean society. These points are detailed in the book as follows:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Choose Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact a Turn-Around Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate 30 Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Enact a Defense Pact with Militia and Naval Forces Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Keep the next generation at home Page 46
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Implementation – Assemble – Incorporating all the existing regional military organizations Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate to the Caribbean Page 118
Planning – 10 Big Ideas for the Caribbean – Confederation Without Sovereignty Page 127
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 181
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights Page 220

There are other lessons for the Caribbean to learn from considering history; the following previous blog/commentaries apply:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7682 Frederick Douglass: Role Model for Single Cause – Abolition
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6722 A Lesson in History – After the Civil War: Birthright Mandates
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6720 A Lesson in History – During the Civil War: Principle over Principal
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6718 A Lesson in History – Before the Civil War: Compromising Human Rights
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5695 Repenting, Forgiving and Reconciling the Past
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5333 A Lesson in History – Legacies: Cause and Effect
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5183 A Lesson in History – Cinco De Mayo
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5123 A Lesson in History – Royal Charter: Zimbabwe -vs- South Africa
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4971 A Lesson in History – Royal Charter: Truth & Consequence
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4935 A Lesson in History: the ‘Grand Old Party’ Abolition Roots
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2480 A Lesson in History: Community Ethos of WW II
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2297 A Lesson in History: Booker T versus Du Bois
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1531 A Lesson in History: 100 Years Ago Today – World War I
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=789 A Lesson in History: America’s War on the Caribbean

The concepts in this commentary are more profound than just the lyrics of a reggae song. It is bigger than music, it relates to life and legacy. The recent legacy of the Afro-Caribbean community is one of dysfunction and abandonment. But the ancient history – Buffalo Soldiers in particular – should give us pause and cause to reflect and reform our commitment to a National Sacrifice ethos.

No appreciation, no sacrifice; no sacrifice, no victory!

The Go Lean roadmap seeks to reform and transform the Caribbean societal engines, urging the adoption of new positive community ethos, such as National Sacrifice. This is an expression of deferred gratification, choosing to focus more on the future than on the present. The Go Lean book relates that the “African Diaspora experience in the New World is one of future gratification, as the generations that sought freedom from slavery knew that their children, not them, would be the beneficiaries of that liberty. This ethos continued with subsequent generations expecting that their “children” would be more successful in the future than the parents may have been”. Deferred gratification is a form of sacrifice.

We should value this sacrifice. Such gratitude makes our community better, more resilient and more long suffering.

Now is the time for all stakeholders in the Caribbean to show proper appreciation for the sacrifices by leaning-in to this roadmap for Caribbean empowerment. All the empowerments in this roadmap require people to fight for their homeland. We can learn so much from the Buffalo Soldiers:

Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival;
Driven from the mainland to the heart of the Caribbean.

If you know your history,
Then you would know where you coming from,
Then you wouldn’t have to ask me,
Who the ‘eck do I think I am.

The Go Lean quest is simple, learn from history and work to make the Caribbean region a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – Song Buffalo Soldier Lyrics – Sang by Bob Marley

Buffalo Soldier, Dreadlock Rasta:
There was a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America,
Stolen from Africa, brought to America,
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.

I mean it, when I analyze the stench –
To me it makes a lot of sense:
How the Dreadlock Rasta was the Buffalo Soldier,
And he was taken from Africa, brought to America,
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.

Said he was a Buffalo Soldier, Dreadlock Rasta –
Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America.

If you know your history,
Then you would know where you coming from,
Then you wouldn’t have to ask me,
Who the ‘eck do I think I am.

I’m just a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America,
Stolen from Africa, brought to America,
Said he was fighting on arrival, fighting for survival;
Said he was a Buffalo Soldier win the war for America.

Dreadie, woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy!
Woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy!
Buffalo Soldier troddin’ through the land, wo-ho-ooh!
Said he wanna ran, then you wanna hand,
Troddin’ through the land, yea-hea, yea-ea.

Said he was a Buffalo Soldier win the war for America;
Buffalo Soldier, Dreadlock Rasta,
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival;
Driven from the mainland to the heart of the Caribbean.

Singing, woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy!
Woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy!

Troddin’ through San Juan in the arms of America;
Troddin’ through Jamaica, a Buffalo Soldier# –
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival:
Buffalo Soldier, Dreadlock Rasta.

Woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy!
Woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy! [fadeout]

Appendix B – VIDEO – Buffalo Soldiers Trailer 1997 – https://youtu.be/Om_BrJhu4gQ

Published on Mar 9, 2015 – Buffalo Soldiers Trailer 1997; Director: Charles Haid; Starring: Danny Glover, Bob Gunton, Carl Lumbly, Tom Bower, Gabriel Casseus.
Official Content From Warner Home Video

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