GLEN ROSE – With explanations of fatback, hardtack and the life of a 19th century American Buffalo Soldier, owner of The Living History Foundation in Austin, Allen Mack brought his role to life for patrons during the Texas Heroes Remembered event on Friday, May 20 at the Paluxy Heritage Park.
“I don’t play a specific character, I do a generalization. I talk about a soldier who was here in the 1800’s, the Buffalo Soldiers,” Mack said. “[…] I’m in the Heritage and Outreach Department and our job is to go around the state of Texas and talk about the Buffalo Soldiers – who they were, what they were and why. I’ve volunteered with Texas Parks and Wildlife for three years and I’ve been working with Texas Parks and Wildlife for about two and a half years now.”
The exhibit which Mack was stationed at had a long table full of clothing, weapons and other gear that the Buffalo Soldiers would have used and worn in the 1800’s. At the exhibit he explained to the students and bystanders what some of the artifacts were exactly as well as stories and history of the soldiers.
“This would’ve been the equipment that they would’ve had and part of what our job is that a lot of kids don’t believe that they have anything to do with history,” Mack explained. “What we try to do with the equipment and things that we bring is try to bridge that gap between their disbelief. We’re trying to show them that if they lived in the 1800’s they could’ve just as easily been one of these men and women that we talk about.”
Although the role as a Buffalo Soldier and informing others about their history is the essence of his role, Mack explained that there is another drive for his passion. Mack plays the role of an African-American Buffalo Soldier, which he said adds to the importance of what he does.
“The biggest meaning of this job to me is a lot of African American history wasn’t in the books and we didn’t get a lot of opportunity to learn much about it,” Mack said. “I’ll be honest with you, as a kid I didn’t think we did much of anything. As I got older I started finding out that we did had a big part in building this country. It just kind of stemmed growth in me to start digging to try to find out more.”
This was not his first go-around with this type of event. Mack has worked numerous events and traveled many places to share and inform people of his passion. It is, however, one that he said he hopes will continue.
“I think this is a great event for the first event that Glen Rose has put together,” Mack said. “I travel all over the state of Texas. Last year we did over 66 events and this year we’re going to be doing close to 80. Seeing all of the different events out there and seeing the kids and the people and how well you guys put this together, I think you guys did a fantastic job.”