Thursday, February 22, 2007



Feb. 9, 2007

Dr. William Henry Waddell IV

The NAACP celebrates the life of Dr. William Henry Waddell IV, the nation’s second-oldest known Buffalo Soldier, a pioneer in the field of veterinary medicine and a lifetime NAACP member. He died January 30 in Hawaii at the age of 98.

A man of many “firsts,” Waddell was born in South Richmond, Va. in 1908. He studied veterinary medicine at Lincoln University and passed the Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine in 1935, becoming the first licensed black veterinarian in the state. Waddell later co-founded the Tuskegee Institute School of Veterinary Medicine, where he served as the school’s first faculty member and worked with George Washington Carver on peanut oil therapy. Waddell was also the first black member of the American Veterinary Medicine Association and the first black veterinarian to practice in West Virginia.

From 1941 to 1946 Waddell served the U.S. 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments of the United States Army as a Buffalo Soldier. The Buffalo Soldiers were originally established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the United States Army, but later operated during wartime. Waddell served abroad during the Italian campaign of World War II and was later wounded in action in North Africa.
Waddell was the second oldest of two surviving Buffalo Soldiers, and the last member of the 9th and 10th Calvary Regiments. He continued to attend Buffalo Soldier reunions each year up until his death. Joe Barnes of San Francisco is said to be the oldest known and sole remaining Buffalo Soldier.

After the war, Waddell opened a veterinary clinic in Tuskegee, Ala. and continued his affiliation with Tuskegee University. He was honored for his contributions to the veterinary school in 2004.

Among his many honors, Waddell received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Lincoln University and a lifetime achievement award at the National Veterinary Association meeting in Honolulu last year. An annual scholarship named in his honor was recently instituted by the NAACP Honolulu Branch.
Waddell is remembered as a wise and exceptionally kind man who encouraged youth to seek knowledge and education. He is survived by a host of loving relatives and family friends and will be sorely missed.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

1908-2007 William Waddell, Buffalo Soldier

By Will Hoover, Advertiser Staff Writer

William Henry Waddell — one of only two surviving Buffalo Soldiers — died at age 98 Tuesday evening at his home in Ka'a'awa.

Waddell, who retired in Hawai'i in 1972 with his wife Lottie, served from 1941 through 1946 with the 9th and 10th Cavalry during the Italian campaign of World War II.

The term "Buffalo Soldier" is one of pride that harks back to the period immediately following the Civil War when depleted Union troops were, by act of Congress, strengthened for the first time to include six regiments of black soldiers.

The term became synonymous with all black regiments that served during subsequent conflicts including the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War, after which the unit was discontinued.

But Waddell had been a trailblazer before entering the war. In 1935, he made history by becoming the first black to be granted a license to practice veterinary medicine in Pennsylvania after he passed the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Waddell, who was born in South Richmond, Va., in 1908, also was the first black to practice veterinary medicine in West Virginia and the first black member of the American Veterinary Medicine Association. He was further honored in 2003 as a co-founder of the historic Tuskegee Institute School of Veterinary Medicine.

"I think he was a great humanitarian," said his daughter Kathryn Waddell Takara, a professor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. "He had a kind heart.

"He was a terribly hard worker who came up from nothing. He's my hero."

In 2004 ,Waddell was awarded a doctor of science honorary degree from the Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

Through it all, Waddell remained a man of warmth and humor. His autobiography, "People are the Funniest Animals," was published in 1978. He also authored several other books.

"He was a grand, grand man," said retired UH professor Miles Jackson, a neighbor of Waddell's. "We all looked upon him as a sage. He had always had positive words of wisdom to share with people.

"He had a fantastic memory. We really enjoyed his company."

To those who knew him, he was an inspiration who will be greatly missed.

"The sad state of affairs is that we began February, Black History Month, with the loss of a national treasure," said Alphonso Braggs, president of Hawai'i NAACP.

"He's the reason that many of us are able to pursue our goals, our dreams and our aspirations. And right up to the end, he was still being that inspirational leader and mentor that he is very well known for.

"The irony is that at this time last year, Dr. Waddell was going around the Island bases with us celebrating Black History Month. So there's going to be that absence this year."

Yet, Braggs and Jackson both praised Waddell for giving those who follow in his footsteps the courage and motivation to continue to carry the message of inspiration and hope forward.
"We can only hope that we are able to live long enough to leave a legacy as great as what he's left us," Braggs said.

At a time when many young people are having trouble understanding the civil rights struggles of the '50s and '60s, he said Waddell's legacy stands as a beacon of light.

Already that legacy has grown. On Jan. 13 — less than a month before his death — the Honolulu Hawai'i branch of the NAACP awarded its first scholarship in Waddell's name, Braggs said.

"We really want to perpetuate what he has done. And that's one way to remind folks," Braggs said.

His wife preceded him in death. Aside from his daughter, survivors include two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Photo from the Buffalo Soldier Research Museum

This article was published on February 4, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A New Play about the Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo Soldiers, A Tale Lost

Please note: For tickets to the Berkeley shows at the Julia Morgan Center (Feb 15 - 17), please call the CBON Ticket Line at (925) 798 -1300. See below for other ticket information.

A powerful, eighteen hundred period theatrical release: Buffalo Soldiers, A Tale Lost triangles the lives, struggles, and conflicts of the Negro Cavalry, Army Officials, and fearless Indian Warriors, while a lone courageous soldier risks his life to convince his comrades that fighting in a war where there are no victors is wrong.

This classy, new, original production breathes life into a forgotten, but crucial chapter in American history. Through dramatic encounters and action filled plots; Buffalo Soldiers, A Tale Lost, displays a clash between three cultures... The White Officers, who are steadfast in their superiority, the Indians, who are vibrant in their refusal to sign a peace treaty, and the Negro soldiers, whose complexities range from house slave to field slave, from heroes to killers, from proud service to insubordination.

The characters in the play comprise an all-male cast that consists of sixteen different roles. Derived from actual events. It's intense, it's original, it's powerful, Buffalo Soldiers, A Tale Lost seeks to break new ground in American theatre.

February 15, 2007 - 8:00 PM
February 16, 2007 - 8:00 PM
February 17, 2007 - 8:00 PM


Julia Morgan Center for the Arts2640 College Ave., Berkeley, CA Adults $30, Children $15, Student and Senior $25Call the CBON Ticket Line: (925) 798-1300


February 21, 2007 - 8:00 PM Through
February 24, 2007 - 8:00 PM


Montgomery Theater 271 S. Market Street, San Jose, CA