Confederate plate vs. Buffalo Soldiers plate

By Rodger Jones/Editorial Writer
Thu., Oct. 13, 2011

One fascinating defense of the proposed Confederate license plate in Texas is one advanced from Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, based on the assertion of equivalence between Old South soldiers and Buffalo Soldiers.

Read on. He’ll explain.

Patterson’s office has sponsored development of the Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate, which is pending before the Department of Motor Vehicles board. He appeared at the board’s April 14 meeting to present his views.

Transcript excerpt:

PATTERSON: … A point of information, you will see you have before you a plate application for Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Houston.

Now, I understand that there’s some controversy or some folks can conjure up some controversy, but I would submit to you that sponsorship of a Buffalo Soldiers plate should be equally as controversial, and frankly, therefore, should not be controversial at all, as an SCV plate, because what did the Buffalo Soldiers do — that’s the African-American cavalry members of the 9th and 10th Cavalry who served on the Texas frontier in the 1870s and 1880s, but what did they do except to participate in a genocidal against an entire race of people, the American Plains Indians, and in effect, put that race of people into reservations.

The point is that both the Buffalo Solders and the Confederate Veterans, of which I am a descendent, served honorably, just as I served honorably in Vietnam and not all things in Vietnam were done in a manner that I’m proud of.

I served in Vietnam but I’m not proud of what happened. This is history and any time you commemorate history and those who served honorably, be they Buffalo Solders, as you will see in a few months, I guess, at your next meeting a plate from the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, or the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I think they should be honored.

The equivalence is a stretch and mostly irrelevant. If you’d ask around Indian reservations today, I’d guess most of them wouldn’t know a Buffalo Soldier was, much less what their regimental flag looked like.

Show the Confederate flag around most black neighborhoods, and I’d reckon you’d get a reaction.

Here is the American-Statesman’s account of yesterday’s DMV board meeting.

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