Buffalo Soldiers are stationed at Fort Lawton beginning on October 5, 1909.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 4/28/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1054
See Additional Media

On October 5, 1909, 900 men of the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Regiment are transferred to Fort Lawton from the Philippines. (Seattle's Fort Lawton is on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound in what will become Discovery Park.) The 25th is one of four regiments of African American soldiers in the Army, called Buffalo Soldiers by Plains Indians in the 1870s and 1880s. Two battalions will move on to Fort George Wright near Spokane. The soldiers at Fort Lawton and their families, who arrived the following year, will constitute approximately one-third of the Black population of Seattle (about 2,400 persons in 1910) during the years they stationed there. Filipinos who enlisted in the U.S. Army were in the regiment as well. In 1913, the 25th Infantry Regiment was transferred to Hawaii.

Less well known than the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, the 25th Infantry Regiment was distinguished by its baseball team, which won several U.S. Army championships and was rated the best non-professional team in the country. In the Army, which was segregated, African Americans could compete against whites only in athletics. The U.S. Army remained segregated until 1948. The 25th regiment also had an outstanding band. Principal Musician Leslie V. King (1878-1963) graduated at the top of his class from the Washington Conservatory of Music in Seattle in 1910 and he became one of the few African American officers in the Army (King served in the U.S. Army from 1898 to 1935).



Anthony Powell, "Portraits in Black," (http://www.con2.com/~blacstar/portraits) and unpublished research, 1999; 1910 U.S. Census, Washington, Fort Lawton, National Archives Film T-624, Roll 1661; "Sheridan Struck By Two Typhoons," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 6, 1909, p. 5.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You