1. Colonel Charles Yong graduated from his high school in Ripley, Ohio at the top of his class at the young age of 16. After graduation, Charles became a teacher and went and taught at an all-black high school also located in Ripley. Later in his life he returned to his educator roots and taught Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and German as well as Military Science at Wilberforce University in Ohio.
2. Young achieved many honors during his lifetime. Some of the most impressive were becoming the first African American National Park Superintendent, the third African American graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, being the highest ranking African American military officer in the United States Army until the day he died on Jan. 8, 1922, and receiving the NAACP Sprigarn Medal for his service as an attache in Liberia. There he helped Liberia to build the country’s infrastructure.
3. Though Colonel Charles Young served 28 years in the military and was denied the opportunity to become a General, many speculate because of the fact that he was an African American, he was a an excellent mentor and teacher Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. eventually became the first African American General when he was promoted to Brigadier General on October 25, 1940.
4. As superintendent of Sequia and Grant National Parks, the records show that the troops under his command accomplished more in one summer then the three previous military officers who had been assigned to the same post accomplished in the previous three years. It was his aggresive leadership while serving in this capacity that led to a giant sequoia being named in his honor. It was dedicated during the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary celebration of Colonel Charles Young’s tenure.
5. Lieutenant Colonel Young served as commander of Fort Huachuca in Texas from 1916 until mid 1917. He was assigned this post due to his exceptional leadership of the 10th Calvary during the war in Mexico. While in Mexico, during the Punitive Expedition, he rescued General Beltran. Young led his squadron and defeated Pancho Villa’s forces without losing a single man at Agua Caliente.
6. Lt. Col. Charles Young became the second honorary member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. on March 8, 1912
7. Unfortunately racial segregation and discrimination prevented Col. Charles Young from leading Black troops into battle during World War I and from being promoted to the rank of General. After being involuntarily retired and being placed on the inactive list because of “alleged” high blood pressure, he rode a horse from Wilberforce, OH to Washington DC to prove his physical fitness.
8. Colonel Charles Young died on Jan. 8, 1922 from kidney infection during a mission in Nigeria. His eulogy was deliverd by W.E.B. DuBois, a close lifetime friend of his. The funeral service was held at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery and is one of the few to ever have been held at this facility.
Visit our: Buffalo Soldier Art Prints & Posters