Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

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“The designation of Col. Young’s home as a national monument will not only bring to light such a remarkable figure whose life transcended race at a time when it was paramount in people’s mind, but it also acts to preserve a fundamentally important part of African American and American history. There are enormous opportunities for collaboration and opportunities to preserve and present the uniquely African American story of Col. Young’s life that will be viewed as perfectly American,” Charles A. Wash, Jr., Ph.D., Director, National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center

The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio, was established on March 25, 2013. It preserves the home and post-Civil War military legacy of Col. Charles Young (1864–1922), recognizing a significant part of African American and American military history.

Born into slavery in Kentucky, the Young family moved to Brown County, Ohio, noted for its thriving population of free blacks, when Charles Young was still a child. He became the third black man to graduate from West Point. No other black men would graduate from the military college for 50 years afterward.

Young served nearly his entire military career with the all-black 9th and 10th Calvary regiments, often called “Buffalo Soldiers.” He fought in Mexico and the Philippines. He served in Cuba and Liberia and was a military attaché in Haiti.

Col. Young also served as the first African-American superintendent of a national park, overseeing Sequoia and General Grant (now Kings Canyon) National Parks while commanding a troop of Buffalo Soldiers in the years before the creation of the National Park Service.

Colonel Charles Young’s story and leadership are also emblematic of the experience of the Buffalo Soldiers during difficult and racially tense times. The story of the Buffalo Soldiers’ bravery and service is not fully told at any other existing national park sites.

The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument was designated as a national monument on September 21, 2012.

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Colonel Young’s home in Wilberforce was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974 in recognition of the site’s exceptional value in illustrating the rich heritage of the United States. Fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction.

In February 2010, former Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) and Rep Steve Austria (R-OH) introduced legislation for a special resource study to determine if the landmark could become part of the National Park system.

The National Veterans Coalition, the National Minority Military Museum Foundation, the National Coalition of Black Veterans Organizations, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and the NAACP had all called for increased recognition of Col. Young’s service to our country.

In April 2011, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Central State University President John W. Garland at the Charles Young House in Xenia to discuss the bill and highlight the site. In 2013, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Brown introduced legislation to incorporate the Colonel Charles Young into the National Park System.

Following the March 2013 designation, the Senators issued a joint statement applauding the designation, which was also heralded by the Association for the Study of African American Life & History, Los Banos Buffalo Soldiers Association, and the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center.

There continues to be an ongoing effort to posthumously promote Charles Young to the rank of Brigadier General.