Buffalo Soldiers National Museum offers historical re-enactment
James Reed Faulkner, a historical re-enactor, portrays Trooper Tyrrell Biggs, a former slave who becomes a Buffalo Soldier. Faulkner from Buffalo Soldiers National Museum wrote and performed the re-enactment Feb. 15 in honor of Black History Month. Photo by Ted Knapinsky
By Juan R. Garcia
Suddenly Biggs whispered to the crowd, “Can I get an ‘at ease’?”
His audience let out a collective sigh, some even smiling at the awkward silence that had passed. But as Biggs began to tell his story the room drew quiet again; members of the audience leaned in close to listen.
Trooper Tyrrell Biggs, performing as a member of the African-American Buffalo Solidiers’ 10th Calvary Regiment, is not a real person. He is a character played by James Reed Faulkner, a historical re-enactor, writer and performer with the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, 1834 Southmore Blvd., in Houston.
Faulkner performed in Room 238 of Main Campus Building as part of the University’s Black History Month events. The Buffalo Soldiers event was hosted by the office of student engagement and success.
The museum, part of the Houston Museum District Association, is a historical resource for learning and understanding the significance and contributions of the African-American regiments who fought during Indian Wars of the American West, Spanish American War of 1898, WWI and WWII, according to the museum’s website.
Faulkner’s performance is an excerpt from his one-man theatrical play “LEGACY: The Buffalo Soldiers Story.” In it, he recounts the life of a Buffalo Soldier through the eyes of a man named Tyrrell Biggs, a former slave who became a soldier in the late 1860s after the American Civil War.
“I originally wrote (it) with two other actors in mind,” Faulkner said. “There was also supposed to be a musician who would create the sound effects needed for the performance.”
Faulkner said that when he presented his idea to his manager he was advised that because of the recent state of the economy, a multi-actor show would be too expensive.
“If you want to do this it’s going to have to be a one-man show,” Faulkner said, recounting his manager’s reaction to his proposal.
To the students and faculty that attended Faulkner’s performance, the use of theatre to bring history to life left a definite impression on students.
Biology senior Antonio Gamez, a self-proclaimed history buff, said that the performance was better than what he expected, admitting that he thought it was just going to be “poster boards and a video.”
“It was great,” Gamez said. “One man shows are probably the hardest things to do because you have one person playing many different characters, but he did a great job.”
Gamez said he heard about the event from the fliers around campus and decided to attend.
“Military history is something I have an appreciation for,” he said.
Other students found their way over to the performance by similar means.
Sections 1 2