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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

Office of student engagement adds Buffalo Soldiers to Black History Month offerings.
By Juan R. Garcia
On the afternoon of Feb. 15, Buffalo Soldier Tyrrell D. Biggs marched into a classroom and slapped his hand to his head in salute.Biggs, wearing thick gloves worn and cracked from use, stood silent and at attention for a long period. The audience exchanged glances with each other, uncertain of what would follow.

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.

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About The Author

Juan Garcia

Juan Garcia is the Public Editor for The Mesquite. Previously, he reported on the growth and development of the University’s Student Government Association. A communication-journalism major with a minor in English, Juan is employed part-time as a student assistant to the Director of Campus Safety and Security at A&M-San Antonio. He is a 2001 Lytle High School graduate and attended Palo Alto College where he received associate’s degrees in English and liberal studies in 2007. Juan is the father of a 3-year-old daughter.

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Comments (1)

  • Erich Hicks

    Keep history alive by telling that history:

    Read the greatest ‘historical novel’, Rescue at Pine Ridge, the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers. The website is: http://www.rescueatpineridge.com This is the greatest story of Black Military History…5 stars Amazon Internationally, and Barnes & Noble. Youtube commercials are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD66NUKmZPs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVslyHmDy9A&feature=related

    Rescue at Pine Ridge is the story of the rescue of the famed 7th Cavalry by the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers. The 7th Cavalry was entrapped again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn’t for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. This story is about, brutality, compassion, reprisal, bravery, heroism, redemption and gallantry.

    You’ll enjoy the novel that embodies the Native Americans, Outlaws and African-American/Black soldiers, from the south to the north, in the days of the Native American Wars with the approaching United States of America.

    The novel was taken from my mini-series movie with the same title, “RaPR” to keep the story alive. The movie so far has the interest of, Mr. Bill Duke, Hill Harper, Glynn Turman, James Whitmore Jr., Reginald T. Dorsey and a host of other major actors in which we are in talks with, in starring in this epic American story.

    When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; http://www.alphawolfprods.com and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for the US Postal System in Montana, in the 1890′s, “spread the word”.

    Peace.

    Reply

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