Jim Sánchez/ Conexión San Ángelo

SAN ANGELO – For only the second time in the NAACP’s 71 year history has the Texas State Conference Meeting been held in San Angelo; the last time it was held here was in 2006. 

After Friday evening’s opening ceremonies, a Cultural Presentation and dinner at Fort Concho, complete with the artillery Presentation of Colors by the Living History Buffalo Soldiers, San Angelo’s NAACP Unit 6219 President, Garland Freeze, spoke with Conexión.

“The State Convention which is the leader of all the NAACP chapters in Texas host three quarterly executive meetings; the process it goes through is that an individual unit, in this case San Angelo’s local chapter, bids for their respective city to be the host,” said Mr. Freeze.

Freeze concluded, stating his ultimate goal is to host a state convention sometime in the future.

Mayor Brenda Gunter was asked to greet visitors and gave brief opening remarks; another dignitary, ASU President, Dr. Brian May, was also invited to speak, and San Angelo Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Vice President, Diann Bayes. 

Sherley Spears,  mistress of ceremonies and the local chapter ‘s Unit Secretary, then introduced Paul Cook, whom she considered a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the history of the Buffalo Soldiers. 

Cook, a member of the Fort Concho Buffalo Soldier Living History Unit, in his introduction, stated the one question he is always asked, “who or what is a Buffalo Soldier?”

“The Buffalo Soldiers’ name was given to them by their enemies as they had never seen a black man before.” “They were compared to the buffaloes,” said Cook.

One significant individual Cook also mentioned in his presentation was Henry Ossian Flipper, an American soldier, and the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1877, earning a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army.

Attendance wise, 120 NCAAP members were at this year’s TSC Meeting held in the Fort Concho quarters.

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