Thursday, March 13, 2014

Buffalo Soldiers Have Their Day in Paris

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the American Library's event "History of the African-American Military Experience." Captain Paul J. Matthews, founder of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, TX, was the speaker.

Captain Paul J. Matthews
© Discover Paris!

Buffalo Soldiers National Museum - title slide of presentation
© Discover Paris!

Captain Matthews founded the museum in 2001 as a means of preserving, promoting, and perpetuating the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers and the African-American men and women who have served in the U.S. military after them. He has been collecting military uniforms, weapons, documents, and other memorabilia for 30 years and continues to search for relics to augment the museum's impressive collection. He told us that the museum presents the African-American military experience from 1770 - 2000, from Crispus Attucks to Colin Powell.

Screenshot of Captain Matthews during video presentation
on the Buffalo Soldiers Museum
© Discover Paris!

The name "Buffalo Soldiers" comes from the Cheyenne Indian warriors who first encountered these proud, black men in blue uniforms. They found that these soldiers resembled the buffalo because of their ferocious fighting spirit and their naturally curly hair and dubbed them "Wild Buffalo."

The group that gathered to hear Captain Matthews' talk filled the library conference room to capacity and was spellbound throughout the entire presentation. We were especially surprised to learn that we could become spiritual descendants of the Buffalo Soldiers and were happy to be inducted into this "club" on the spot! There was a lively question and answer period following the presentation and Captain Matthews made the acquaintance of a couple of attendees who are well versed in African-American history and in the black history of the City of Houston.

Awaiting the arrival of the last attendees
© Discover Paris!

Watching the presentation
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Chuck Armstead and Captain Matthews
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Captain Matthews was joined by his wife, Bobbie, and their son, Desmond, at the presentation.

Desmond Matthews, Cheryl Ann Bolden, and Barbara Matthews
© Discover Paris!

The family had the opportunity to do plenty of sightseeing with Discover Paris! during their stay - they enjoyed a private, four-hour chauffeured tour of the city and a private, guided Entrée to Black Paris walking tour on and around the Champs Elysées (The Grandest of Avenues) prior to the presentation on Saturday.

Monique, Desmond, Paul, and Bobbie at the Tuileries Garden
© Discover Paris!

Starting the walk
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As a native Houstonian, I am pleased to have been the one to bring Captain Matthews and the American Library together for this event! Many thanks to Pauline Lemasson, External Relations Manager for the library, for having coordinated the presentation.

Pauline Lemasson, Captain Paul J. Matthews, and Monique Y. Wells
© Discover Paris!

Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
3816 Caroline
Houston, TX 77004
Telephone: 713-942-8920

American Library in Paris
10 Rue du Général Camou
75007 Paris
Telephone: 01 53 59 12 60
Metro: Ecole Militaire (Line 8), RER Pont de l'Alma (Line C)


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

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