The military was one of the few options in a racist and closed society an African American could earn respect and honor.
For African Americans, the military represented one of the few options in a racist and closed society in which they could earn a measure of respect and honor. Military service in the West was one of the few places in post-Civil War America where blacks could prove themselves. The buffalo soldiers’ disciplinary, desertion, and performance records far exceed those of fellow white soldiers.
Despite this, only a handful of blacks in military service received the Medal of Honor. Often outperforming their white counterparts, the black regiments never earned the respect they deserved. Many western communities owed both their existence and survival to the notable services rendered by these black soldiers, but few settlements appreciated the hard work and dedication of these troops.