August 22, 2012

On Saturday afternoon, July 28th, William Morehouse led the local chapter of the military-sanctioned Buffalo Soldiers into Zone 13 of the Multnomah County Juvenile Detention Home (JDH). William Morehouse is both an army veteran and president of the Buffalo Soldiers 9th and 10th Cavalry. He spoke to about 60 youth about the rich history of Black servicemen in the military,
a history that goes as far back as the Civil War.

“The Buffalo Soldiers are a part of our history, not just back history but American history. Our youth need to know that there were black soldiers,” shares Roy Washington, a Juvenile Custody Services Specialist that has been with the Department of Community Justice for over 17 years. Roy extended the invitation to William Morehouse to visit JDH as a representative of the Juvenile Detention Cultural Diversity Committee. It had been over 10 years since the Buffalo Soldiers had visited youth in detention.

Staff took turns escorting each unit outside to the grassy area of Zone 13 to hear the Buffalo Soldiers’ stories, ask questions, and view a spotted horse named “Jack.” Was it a success? “They [the youth] did get the message and they loved it. They had lots of questions about the soldiers and the horses”, observed Washington. Most of the young people come from urban settings and had never seen or been close to a horse. The Buffalo Soldiers provided many of these youth with a positive memory that will last them a lifetime.

The Department of Community Justice Juvenile Detention Cultural Diversity Committee members are:

  • Roy Washington
  • Arnoldo Jaramillo
  • Manon Vellioux
  • Vickie Gantz
  • Mary Sullivan
  • Robert Herriot
  • Esteban Mendez
  • Tami Cox

View slideshow of event