Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
PORTALES—Oscar Robinson, director of University Personnel Services at Eastern New Mexico University, was honored on Tuesday, Feb. 15, by the New Mexico Legislature in recognition of his efforts in getting the racist name (which used the "N" word) of a hill in Roosevelt County in memory of black Buffalo Soldiers who died there in 1877 changed to Buffalo Soldier Hill.
"I greatly appreciate this honor, but it was the result of many people's efforts over many years," Robinson said. "Most importantly, though, it is a tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers who fought so bravely and died there out of a sense of duty to America."
The proclamation that Robinson received reads:
The Legislature of the State of New Mexico, Forty-Seventh Legislature, Second Session, 2006.
The New Mexico State Senate does hereby extend its congratulations to Oscar Robinson.
Whereas, folklore has it that a relatively small hill rising from the eastern New Mexico plains was named for the Buffalo Soldiers who died there in 1877; and
Whereas, the name given the hill in what is now Roosevelt County may have been considered appropriate in the late 1800's, but has long been considered an offensive and inappropriate racial term for African-Americans; and
Whereas, while there are several other stories for how the hill was named, some of which were cited in defense of the name of the hill, the most plausible is that is was named for the Buffalo Soldiers who were members of Troop A of the United States Army's Tenth Cavalry and who perished there; and
Whereas, Buffalo soldiers served this country well and honorably and their lives, like those of all good Americans, should be remembered and honored appropriately and not through the use of derogatory terms; and
Whereas, Oscar Robinson of Portales, an African- American, learned of the hill's name in 1990 and became immediately incensed to know that such a term was still considered acceptable more than a century later; and
Whereas, Oscar Robinson's fourteen-year quest to change the name of the was realized in 2004 at a ceremony honoring the contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers; and
Whereas, the change in the hill's name to "Buffalo Soldier Hill" was officially approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names in October 2005; and
Whereas, Oscar Robinson was both valiant and determined in his efforts to change the name of the hill and refused to be deterred from what must have been at times an unpopular cause;
Now, Therefore, be it resolved by the Senate of the state of New Mexico that hearty congratulations be extended to Oscar Robinson of Portales for his successful efforts to ensure that the contributions made by the Buffalo Soldiers will be appropriately and forever remembered at "Buffalo Soldier Hill" in Roosevelt County.