Sgt. William H. Thompkins was an African-American soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor during the Spanish-American War. He was part of the 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, one of the Buffalo Soldier regiments that the Army formed in 1866. A short film produced by San Francisco State University recently highlighted Thompkins. The film presented a history of the Buffalo Soldiers, which included the story of Thompkins’s heroic actions on the night of June 30, 1898.
Over 400 Buffalo Soldiers are now buried at San Francisco National Cemetery. Last year, the Veterans Legacy Program partnered with San Francisco State University to conduct research on Veterans buried at local national cemeteries. The students and faculty created a series of short films about the stories that they discovered at Golden Gate and San Francisco National Cemeteries. Thompkins’s story was one of them.
This partnership is one of the ongoing efforts to modernize the way that we memorialize Veterans. In May 2016, the NCA launched the Veterans Legacy Program in order to engage students, teachers, and the public with stories about the lives of Veterans. To find out more about the Veterans Legacy Program, please visit the website located here: https://www.cem.va.gov/legacy/
NCA is proud to support local filmmakers, storytellers, and students engaging with the stories of Veterans in their local national cemeteries. They may raise issues of local interest or even controversy. We hope this encourages all viewers to learn more about the Veterans and their circumstances. The views expressed by parties in the films are not those of NCA, but presented as part of the plurality of perspectives and views surrounding the life and service of American Veterans.
In recognition of Black History Month, the NCA is proud to share the film “Pride of the Buffalo Soldiers.