In The Steps of Esteban: Tucson's African American Heritage

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Lesson Plans & Ideas

Activity 4: The Buffalo Soldiers

In this exploration, you will learn more about the African American Buffalo Soldiers and explore the connections of their lives to the life of Bob Marley, a Jamaican musician, in a song he wrote.

1. Read the section African American Soldiers and, under Biographies & Oral History, read about Reuben Horner III in the Military section.

2. To get a better feel for the day-to-day life and hardships of the Buffalo Soldiers, explore the following websites and answer the questions.

Buffalo Soldiers On the Western Frontier

The Buffalo Soldier and the Constitution

3. Explain the conditions of the Buffalo Soldiers' lives.

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4. How did the Buffalo Soldiers comport themselves during those difficult times?

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5. Who got the better deal, the Buffalo Soldiers or the Army? Explain.

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6. Now read the lyrics to Bob Marley's song, Buffalo Soldier.

7. To find connections between the "Dreadlock Rasta", a follower of the Rastafarian religion, and the Buffalo Soldier, you will need some background information. Explore the following web sites and answer the questions.

Visit bobmarley.com/life/trenchtown/

What were the conditions in Trenchtown?

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What connection do you see to the Buffalo soldiers and the conditions under which the soldiers had to live?

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One of Marley's lines reads, "... when I analyse the stench ..." What does stench mean? What might have had a stench?

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Visit www.bobmarley.com/life/jamaica/

Explain about slavery in Jamaica. What is the connection to the Buffalo Soldier in the United States?

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Visit www.bobmarley.com/life/rastafari/

Read the quotation about war at the above Internet page. What was Bob Marley fighting against in his war? What is the connection to the Buffalo Soldiers?

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If you want to find out more about the Rastafarians or Bob Marley, investigate this web site.