Buffalo Soldiers

African Americans in the Military

The United States is a country built on the strengths and contributions of many different groups of people. However, the narratives used to teach United States history often fail to include the contributions and accomplishments of people of color or sometimes are not recorded accurately.

Buffalo Soldiers, African Americans in the Military provides authentic, high-interest, actively engaging content that reflects honest depictions of historical narratives which include the contributions and struggles of African Americans from the Revolutionary War to the present day.

The lessons are paired with social emotional learning skills that enable students to acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.[1]

The course includes seven lessons focused on Thinking, Beliefs, Values, Aspirations, Communication, Relationships, and Habits, each designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the history of African Americans in the Military.

The lessons are segmented so that you can easily integrate pieces into your standard social studies curriculum. The material also lends itself well for use in after school programs, day camps, and other uses. View samples from a lesson.

[1] Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Lesson 1


This lesson focuses on critical and historical thinking, and the foundational national documents that guide our government and society. This includes the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Emancipation Proclamation.
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Lesson 2


This lesson focuses on what beliefs are and what perspective is, especially as it relates to the recording of history. The historical events covered are the Black soldiers in the Civil War, the Reconstruction Amendments, and the establishment of the African American regiments in the United States Military.
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Lesson 3


This lesson focuses on values and how they influence our decisions and behavior. The historical content looks at how the Black regiments came to be called Buffalo Soldiers and their role in the Westward Expansion and the Spanish American War.
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Lesson 4

Dreams & Aspirations

This lesson will focus on students learning how to aspire to be all that they can be. Historical content covers the work of the Buffalo Soldiers in the national parks prior to the founding of the National Park Service, and the role of the African American troops during World War I.
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Lesson 5


This lesson focuses on communication between people and why we often misunderstand those who are different from ourselves. The historical content focuses on the role of African American soldiers and sailors in World War II.
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Lesson 6


This lesson focuses on the importance of building and maintaining good relationships. The historical content focuses on the roles of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Black nurses during World War II and the significance of their contributions toward the integration of the military.
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Lesson 7


Lesson Seven focuses on persistence, which is one of the Habits of the Mind. The historical Section will review information from previous lessons and relate it to current events. The final section will focus on the roles and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic society.
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Meeting Educational Standards

Buffalo Soldiers Expanded Learning Program meets or exceeds both Washington State and National Standards for Social Studies Education