Mr. George Pettigrew Bio
We are honored to have as our speaker this month, Mr. George Pettigrew. The following is the story of how he became interested in the Buffalo Soldiers:
My mother shared stories with me of the Buffalo Soldiers from a very young age but there were scant resources to discover more. With her forty years of research, she left me in her will when she passed in 2008, I began to understand more and more. This marked the beginning of my search for who these Black soldiers were.
Following my retirement from Ford Motor Company, I finally had the time to do earnest research for the information that I didn’t truly understand. How my great grandfather, Isaac Johnson, went from being enslaved, to being a soldier, to being an Original Buffalo Soldier and what that meant.
Following this story, Mr. Pettigrew has become a Certified Oral Storyteller, a Certified Written Storyteller, a presenting member of the Missouri Humanities Speakers’ Bureau, Instructor for Oral Storyteller Certification, and a newly installed member of Missouri Humanities Board of Directors.
Currently, Mr. Pettigrew is Executive Vice President and Life Member of the Alexander/Madison Chapter of KC Buffalo Soldiers, Life Member and Co-Chairman of the Fort Leavenworth Museum Project Committee with the 9th & 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association, and Chairman of the Frontier Museum of the United States Army Foundation.
Mr. Pettigrew is a U.S. Navy veteran living in Kansas City MO with his wife Dana and they have two children.
The following text is from Wikipedia:
Buffalo Soldiers were United States Army regiments that primarily comprised African Americans, formed during the 19th century to serve on the American frontier. On September 21, 1866, the 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The nickname "Buffalo Soldiers" was purportedly given to the regiment by Native Americans who fought against them in the American Indian Wars, and the term eventually became synonymous with all of the African American U.S. Army regiments established in 1866, including the 9th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Regiment, and 38th Infantry Regiment.
Although several African American Union Army regiments were raised during the American Civil War (referred to collectively as the United States Colored Troops), "Buffalo Soldiers" were established by the United States Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the U.S. Army. The regiments were racially segregated, as the U.S. military would not desegregate until 1948. On September 6, 2005, Mark Matthews, the last surviving Buffalo Soldier, died aged 111. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.