Memorial Plaza Dedication Ceremony

A Dream Realized

In 2015, City of Tucson Councilman Richard Fimbres and members of the Greater Southern Arizona Area Chapter (GSAAC) pursued public funding for the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial project.  Although the Pima County bond program was not approved by voters that year, the team decided to regroup, revise and reinvent the memorial plan.

In 2016, AT Community Media produced a documentary called the "Forgotten Soldier" and included an interview with Councilman Fimbres talking about the Buffalo Soldier Memorial.  The interview was conducted by Trooper Jon Covington, a leading GSAAC committee member.

In, 2017, Councilman Fimbres, Trooper Covington, and Ms. Dykgraaf of the Quincie Douglas Library held a meeting to discuss the possibility of creating dedicated space in the library for the history of the Buffalo Soldiers.  This initiative was strongly supported, and the group discussed raising funds to purchase a site marker establishing the area by the Quincie Douglas Neighborhood Center and Library for the future memorial.

Councilman Fimbres received an arts grant from the Arts Foundation for a student artist project, and funds were used to commission three murals to be painted by the students from Ward 5, one of which was the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial displayed at the entrance of the Quincie Douglas Neighborhood Center. Troopers Jon Covington and Lee Easter, and Dr. Michael Engs provided historical and technical guidance in creation of the Buffalo Soldier mural. 

In 2018, Tucson Marble and Granite (Tucson Memorials) was selected to design the granite memorial monument to be placed at the Quincie Douglas Center in coordination with the Ward 5 office and the Parks and Recreation Department staff. In June, the GSAAC membership voted to fund the memorial project with a sizable donation from the treasury.

Councilman Fimbres continued to lobby for funding for the memorial and was able to get the project into the City of Tucson Prop 407 Bond Program, which was successfully approved by voters in November 2018.  The next month the GSAAC members met with Mr. Jerry Neely, Quincie Douglas Neighborhood Center Director, to discuss the project.  Mr. Neely suggested that the memorial be relocated to the front plaza area of the administrative offices.  The idea was well received and the project began in earnest to place the monument and history panels in that location.​​​​​​​

In 2019, members of the GSAAC met with representatives of the City of Tucson and the Ward 5 office to start the memorial plaza planning process in earnest. The City hired Wheat Design Group (WDG) to begin planning and design. In August, the GSAAC made a down payment of $38,000 to the Tucson Mable and Granite company for the memorial granite monument.

In 2020, the project team finalized the plans for the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial plaza. The City hired MAnderson Construction as the contractor, and the groundbreaking took place on October 29, 2020. The GSAAC, led by Trooper Covington, began development of the memorial text for the monument and 6 plaques.

In 2021, the plaza construction continued until final completion in April when the granite monument was hoisted into its current location. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony and memorial dedication was held on May 3, 2021.