history black officers 617x347

Photo: AZPM

A 1940s audience sits rapt at the Mountain View Black Officers Club.

At Fort Huachuca, an important but little-known piece of African-American and military history remains, flanked by chain-link fence and yellow grass.

It's call the Mountain View Black Officers Club, also known as building 6605, and in its heyday it boasted visitors as distinguished as Lena Horne and Louis Armstrong.

African-American military personnel were first stationed at Fort Huachuca in 1892. Following the Civil War, the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry of the United Sates Army were deployed across the American West.

World War II saw an expansion of the Black Officers' Corps in the Army, as well as the establishment of segregated units in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. In 1942, after army reorganization and the formation of the 92nd and 93rd Infantry Division, Fort Huachuca suddenly became the home to the largest population of African-American military personnel in the U.S.

The Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers saved the building from demolition and has been working for over a decade to preserve it as a historic site.

Historian Demion Clinco says that in December 2010, the Army notified the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers that they would oppose the renewal of their lease on the building in September 2011. Only through the commitment of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers and our region, says Clinco, will this piece of history survive.

Check out the exclusive AZPM web/radio feature on the Mountain View Officers Club here.

Demion Clinco, President of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, talks about the historic Mountain View Black Officers Club.