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Here are the top stories for Saturday, Feb. 11th: Anti-abortion protesters are met with Planned Parenthood supporters; President Trump and Prime Minister Abe play golf; The Philippines suffers a deadly earthquake; Taiwanese release lanterns into sky. AP

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ATLANTIC CITY - Visitors had the rare opportunity to mingle with Buffalo Soldiers on Friday at the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey during the opening reception of the museum’s newest exhibit, “Black Cowboys & Buffalo Soldiers.”

Peter B. Walker, commander of the Buffalo Soldiers 24th Infantry Regiment, joined exhibit creator and curator Kimball Baker for a panel discussion during the reception, which was held in conjunction with other Second Friday events at the Noyes Arts Garage in Atlantic City.

“This was a perfect opportunity to meet a couple heroes and acknowledge the leadership of black Americans from the Revolutionary War on to the current day,” said Mayor Don Guardian.

Walker, who is in his 80s, said his group keeps the spirit of the original Buffalo Soldiers alive. “We are carrying on that legacy,” he said. “We are proud to be Buffalo Soldiers.”

The exhibit highlights the impact that the Buffalo Soldiers and black cowboys had on the westward expansion of the United States. Walker cited the Charge at San Juan as one accomplishment for which the Buffalo Soldiers rarely receive acknowledgment. Oftentimes, the story is told that the Blockhouse in San Juan was captured by Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, but Walker said it was really captured by the Buffalo Soldiers.

Baker talked about Bronco Sam and Nat Love and other influential black cowboys who helped settle the West. “They had a job to do and they did it,” said Baker. “They persevered through discrimination. It’s a story about struggle and overcoming and that’s still relevant today.”

Many in attendance were surprised to learn about the black cowboys and Buffalo Soldiers. “I haven’t seen a lot about black cowboys, so I didn’t know much about them,” said Gowanda Marcus of Atlantic City, noting that it is an important aspect of black history to learn.

Henrietta Shelton of Atlantic City was happy she took the time to attend the opening reception.

“It was very informative,” she said. “I didn’t know a lot about the Buffalo Soldiers and black cowboys. I’m impressed by the number of black cowboys,” she said. “A lot of our history is so hidden, and there is little we are aware of. I’m happy people are learning more.”

The Black Cowboys & Buffalo Soldiers exhibit will be one display at the African American Heritage Museum of South Jersey inside the Noyes Arts Garage, 2200 Fairmount Ave., through April 30. For more information, call (609) 350-6662 or visit aahmsnj.org.

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