Template talk:Buffalo Soldiers

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Cleanups to template[edit]

Since this template also made reference to World War II units, I added Vernon Baker and John R. Fox as Medal of Honor recipients ... I also "sanity checked" the other names in the list, and removed redlinked names and all names that did not have any mention of being a recipient of the MOH, like Cathy Williams (Buffalo Soldier) ... I also added a few more 20th century segregated units ... if Some Other Editor decides to revert these edits, please justify the revert here on this talk page ... Happy Editing! — (talk · contribs) 21:58, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

I didn't check all the names closely, but assumed that all listed people were MoH recipients. There could be a section for notable Buffalo Soldiers who didn't receive the MoH but are worth mentioning, which would justify readding Cathy Williams. BrokenSphereMsg me 22:19, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Wait, wait. I am going to re-insert Cathy Williams, because this template is for all Buffalo Soldiers who are notable enough to have WP articles. Also, those redlinked names need articles and should not have been deleted. I have "insanitied" the template again, and would discourage unilateral decision-making in the future. – Freechild (¡!¡!¡!¡) 22:38, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Works for me, now that the section no longer says "MOH recipients" ... OTOH, if you try to add all of the articles about people that are linked to the Buffalo Soldier page, then it will get annoyingly large and probably get nominated for deletion as "just another smeggy list" or some such. :-)
BTW, all edits in Wikipedia are, by definition, unilateral unless they are by Consensus, and at least I was responsible enough to post something on this discussion page, which is what all editors should do when they make non-trivial or non-cosmetic changes ... see Ownership of articles and please discuss things like the creation of new sections to the template here before unilaterally adding them ... I made an assumption that this template was "open" to the addition of WW-II units and MOH recipients, and then made a unilateral decision to add them.
As for redlinks, there are two schools of thought ... while their utility as flags for "things to be added" is well recognized and accepted by editors, most readers (and many editors) view them as a flag that "an article has been deleted" ... case in point, John R. Fox used to contain a link to Operation Wintergewitter (Winter Storm) - Italian Front which was deleted ... noticing that it had gone red led to the substitution of Winter Line ... until recently, the link for Sommocolonia in the same article was redlinked, until a "close enough" article was found, but it's still redlinked in several other articles because I haven't taken the time to track them down ... but if you want to get all WikiLawyering about it, then to quote Wikipedia:Red link#When to create red links,

Do create red links to articles you intend to create or technical terms that need to be explained.

Personally, I think that redlinks in templates diminish the verisimilitude of Wikipedia as a whole (because of the "deleted" stigma), and I also prefer to avoid their use in templates because if they are used, then the "what links here" for a redlinked article becomes disproportionately inflated due to the numerous instances of the template.
Notability is a real sticky wicket ... there is already a List of African American Medal of Honor recipients, and I would never suggest that the "notable" section be either restricted to nor populated from article listed in that article, and this begs the question of "What is considered Notable in this context?" ... I mean, we need a new definition of "Notable" here, like "What makes these battles notable?" Simply the fact that Buffalo Soldiers fought in them? I'm sorry, but IMO this template has gotten Too Large already. ... Happy Editing! — 00:27, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

The template length is just fine. Perhaps there should be separate templates documenting the different facets of the Buffalo Soldiers, but that would be cumbersome itself. Notable in this context means that it has a WP article, and that it is relevant to the Buffalo Soldiers. Oh, and redlinks do invite participation - that's how I got involved.

I am not particularly attached to this template; however, I am sensitive to any anon editor hacking away on any article. I read your userpage and appreciate your perspective, so I'm going to back away from this. Enjoy yourself! – Freechild (¡!¡!¡!¡) 01:13, 25 September 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't this only include those which the units took part in while they were still segregated? BrokenSphereMsg me 22:41, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Please see my comments above ... and that "Soldiers" section has also gotten out of control. — (talk · contribs) 00:36, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, what part did Buffalo Soldiers play in Battle of Monte Cassino that is "notable?" My father watched the bombing of Monte Cassino from the plains, but no units of the 366th Infantry Regiment, or 92nd Infantry Division for that matter, participated in that battle ... and I thought that it went without saying that the term died with the desegregation of the armed forces after WW-II, so WTF is Battle of Mosul (2004) doing in this template?? Are you going to unilaterally add Battle of Khe Sanh next? — 00:56, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes BrokenSphere, you are right, and I erred. 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment was at Mosul, but have not been segregated for some time. And, please remain civil. – Freechild (¡!¡!¡!¡) 01:10, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

My apologies, Freechild ... it looks like my evil twin has been a Bad Boy and may have crossed a line ... I have removed the Battle of Musol, redirected the 24th Infantry Regiment to the correct article, and set the template's default state to collapsed ... that's about as much lipstick as I feel like putting on this pig, so it's time for me to MOVE ON as well ... Happy Editing! — 15:33, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Focus and range of template[edit]

Well, I think we can agree that the era of the Buffalo Soldiers ended with the desegregation of the US military following WW-II, so we should not be including links for battles after that date ... OTOH, I think that this template should either be restricted to the units specifically referenced in that article, i.e.,

The term eventually encompassed these units:

which would exclude the WW-II MOH winners as well, or else it should be opened to include the Tuskegee Airmen ... I don't mean to sound facetious, but we really do need to establish some limits, and they will either be very narrow, or very broad ... Happy Editing! — 19:49, 29 September 2007 (UTC)


Maybe I missed something, but shouldn't ALL of the articles linked to a template have an instance of the template in them as well?? Many of the "Soldiers" (like Christian Fleetwood) and most of the "Notable battles" (like Battle of San Juan Hill) do not use the template, but I am loathe to add them because I'm not sure if this template will be around for very long ... comments, anyone? — 22:53, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Re. adding the template to the articles it refers to - you mentioned above that the scope has to be defined, so that may be in order first before it's added to the articles in question, otherwise we will have articles that will have it but may then be deemed to be not within the scope of "Buffalo Soldiers", so it'll then have to be removed from them.
Also, what do you mean by this template may not be around for very long? What would justify its deletion? BrokenSphereMsg me 04:11, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
You're correct that scope needs to be defined first ... as for the imminent fate of this template, it may see Templates for deletion Real Soon Now ... some types of templates that were not endorsed six months ago are now viewed favorably, and vice-versa, so I'm not sure what the consensus would be right now ... even though I don't care enough about the subject to nominate it myself, I would actively endorse its deletion during such a discussion. — 04:49, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
The dilemma this topic presents is that while the template is large, would categorization relieve the situation? I might try something to the effect of Category:Buffalo Soldiers with subcategories under Category:Buffalo Soldier units, Category:Buffalo Soldier battles and Category:Buffalo Soldier Medal of Honor recipients. That seems a little extensive, but the only way I can see replacing this template. Otherwise, there is little need for TfDing it. – Freechild (¡!¡!¡!¡) 05:49, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
The problem is "categorization" itself ... please see Wikipedia:Overcategorization#Non-notable intersections by ethnicity, religion, or sexual preference ... and also note that one of your suggested categories has already been rejected; Category:African American Medal of Honor recipients was deleted by WP:CFD just a few months ago ... maybe you should just file this one under "Good idea; Bad decision," and please do not recreate categories that have already been deleted by consensus, or which have been shown by consensus to be unwelcome. — (talk · contribs) 14:46, 30 September 2007 (UTC), I was not intending to haul off and create those categories. However, in relation to this conversation I was attempting to illustrate the point that if this information is not included in a template, shouldn't it be included in categories. I will not argue about overcategorization, because for the most part I don't believe that is possible; the point of a wiki is to make almost endless connections - the notability of those intersections should be proven through reliable citations rather than the loudest voice screaming the longest, which was the case with Category:African American Medal of Honor recipients. A google search shows 1,400 incidences of the phrase "African American Medal of Honor recipients" appearing on the web; 3 on google scholar; and at fourteen books on Amazon.com. And that's just a quick search. The fact of the matter is that race matters in the U.S. and that any intersection between race and accomplishments such as the medal of honor is notable. In the same vain, Buffalo Soldiers and notable battles, Buffalo soldiers and their units and notable Buffalo Soldiers themselves are all notable. The intersections within those areas are notable as well, and using reliable citations that can be proven. Therein lies the flaw with the vetting system for templates and categories. If the information in this template ceases to exist in its current form, I will write an article about it simply to maintain the integrity of the information. – Freechild (¡!¡!¡!¡) 20:25, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps a Category would be better than a Template?[edit]

Take a look at Category:Black history in the United States military ... perhaps a Category:Buffalo Soldiers would be more appropriate than a Template, although it might conflict with Category:African Americans in the United States military unless there is a clear distinction that one is a subset of the other, like Category:Tuskegee Airmen ... for one thing, a Category eliminates the redlink problem, but more importantly, it also eliminates creating a lot of links to articles that stretch credulity, like why a 19th century battle in New Mexico (Battle of Tularosa) shows up in "What links here" for a WW-II MOH winner (Vernon Baker), and vice-versa (or why both are reciprocally linked to Cathy Williams (Buffalo Soldier)) ... personally, I found Category:African Americans in the United States military much more useful than this template, because I found Booker T. Spicely and Executive Order 9981 (which I had been looking for a few days ago while composing an earlier thread) ... Happy Editing! — 21:06, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

There is no "redlink problem"; redlinks help build the web. The reason why the Battle of Tularosa is linked to Vernon Baker, and why both are linked to Cathy Williams, is because they are all related to the topic of Buffalo Soldiers, which is the purpose of the template. For that purpose this template does well. If you disagree I hope you will take it to TfD so we can have more editors' opinions. – Freechild (¡!¡!¡!¡) 04:25, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Template improvement[edit]

There are a few things that need to be clarified in order to improve this template.

First, the definition of "Buffalo Soldiers" is uncertain. It can have a couple different meanings; in its strictest sense it refers only to the black cavalry soldiers who served in the Indian Wars of the western U.S., and in its broadest sense it refers to any black soldier who served in the segregated Army from after the Civil War to the end of the last segregated unit in the 1950s. Right now the template uses "Buffalo Soldiers" in the broadest sense and then some (I've never heard of Civil War soldiers like Christian Fleetwood being refered to as "Buffalo Soldiers", since the term didn't come around until after that war). What the template looks like right now is an "African Americans in the segregated U.S. Army" template. That's a pretty broad topic, and I don't think it's feasible to list every black soldier, every black unit, and every battle they fought in on a single template, it would just be too huge. I see a few options:

  1. Broaden the scope to Military history of African Americans, and change template name to match: this would cover everything from Salem Poor to Colin Powell, but would include high level links only since the topic is so broad. Instead of linking to individual Medal of Honor recipients, link to List of African American Medal of Honor recipients, instead of linking to every black unit, link to List of African American units in the United States Army (which really should exist), etc. Note that this would also include blacks in the Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
  2. Keep the scope as is, but rename to "African Americans in the segregated United States Army" for clarity: again, most of the links would be high-level, linking to List of African American units in the United States Army instead of individual units, etc.
  3. Narrow the scope to the most common definition of Buffalo Soldiers (black soldiers who fought in the Indian Wars and/or Spanish-American War): This scope is small enough that individual soldiers could be linked to (there would be 25 or so, by my counting), but I think it would be preferable to create a List of Buffalo Soldiers and link to that instead. Individual battles/units could be linked to also.

Part of the problem is that Wikipedia's coverage of these topics is very weak, the Buffalo Soldiers article in particular needs a lot of work. What does everybody else think? jwillbur 22:07, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

I guess I support the "broad" definition of post-Civil War to WW-II, but I will not oppose the inclusion of Cathy Williams (Buffalo Soldier) ... I do not feel that it should be attached to any person/unit/battle from before 1866 or after 1945 ... for example, the members of the 92nd Infantry 'Buffalo' Division and their exploits belongs if only as the final legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers.
I've already voiced my preference for a Category as opposed to a Template ... I have just added Category:African Americans in the United States military and Category:Black history in the United States military to the seven articles in the List of African American Medal of Honor recipients#World War II ... two of them are in the template already (because I added them), but not the other five.
OTOH, I have neither the time nor interest to research and edit every article about African Americans who have served in all branches of the United States military ... I did the seven WW-II MOH recipients, and Some Other Editor can add those Categories to the Korean War and Viet Nam War recipients ... just as Some Other Editor can make sure that this template is attached to all of the MOH recipients from the Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War, since that appears to have consensus ... and that's my 2¢ worth ... Happy Editing! — 22:54, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your clear analysis jwillbur. My original purpose in creating the template was not to post all of the Medal of Honor winners, or to have every notable Buffalo Soldier by any definition. However, when Some Other Editor got involved the entire project went array. Alas, I would prefer to limit this template only to the original Buffalo Soldiers who served during the Indian Wars and Spanish-American War. – Freechild (¡!¡!¡!¡) 01:46, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I concur ... I have removed the 20th century Units (92nd & 93rd Divisions), Soldiers (Baker & Fox), and Battles (WW-I & WW-II) from the template, and removed the template from all of those articles as well ... I did not "sanity check" all of the articles in the "Soldiers" section to see if they fit into the range, but maybe Some Other WikiGnome will take up the gauntlet (not to be confused with an iron fist in a velvet glove. :-) — 02:23, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
P.S. ... I have added the two categories Category:African Americans in the United States military and Category:Black history in the United States military to the template as well, since one or both are currently missing from most of the subject articles. — 02:45, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

OK, I took the suggestion to use the lists of MOH recipients from the Indian Wars and the Spanish-American war as replacements for the individual "Soldiers" and renamed it as such, since it looked like nearly all of the names already listed were MOH recipients ... this made the template small enough that I feel comfortable having it once again default to "not collapsed" ... I think that this current version reflects the consensus ... Happy Editing! — (talk · contribs) 18:43, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

This template is for all Buffalo Soldiers who are notable enough to have WP articles. It is not only for MOH winners - there is already a list specifically for them, and they do not need to be included in this template. Please quit trying to remove the list of Buffalo Soldiers - there was no consensus on this. • Freechild'sup? 11:37, 6 October 2007 (UTC)


I used the info above to focus the template on the orginal Buffalo Soldiers units, the Medal of Honor winners up to World War I (only 1 then) and the battles up to World War I. I did not cite Black MOH winners of the Civil War mainly because they were not in the direct lineage of the original units called Buffalo Soldiers. Adding more units, MOH winners and battle would make this template over-sized. Jrcrin001 (talk) 21:52, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Excellent Doc! Jrcrin001 (talk) 22:54, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

How can this template be hidden (collapsed) in all articles?[edit]

It was suggested that the template would be better in the closed or hidden or collapsed format. I am unsure of how to do this. I though addiing "|state = autocollapse" what was needed. Now I really just do not know. Anyone have any ideas? Jrcrin001 (talk) 07:12, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Black Seminole Scouts[edit]

Black Seminole Scouts were a part of the organization called United States Army Indian Scouts - while often associated with Buffalo Soldiers they were never US Army Buffalo Soldiers. Scouts served all US units. There is no documentaion that any US Army Indian Scouts were offically or documented by the military as "Buffalo Soldiers." Jrcrin001 (talk) 19:04, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Please see the discussion page of Black Seminole Scouts. Jrcrin001 (talk) 00:04, 5 November 2011 (UTC)