Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Colonel Charles Young

Colonel Charles YoungColonel Charles Young: Black Cavalryman, Huachuca Commander, and Early Intelligence Officer.

Charles Young (March 12, 1864 - January 8, 1922) was the third African American graduate of West Point, first black U.S. national park superintendent, first African American military attaché, and highest ranking black officer in the United States Army until his death in 1922.
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In the world of military biography men there is no shortage of remarkable men. That may be why some of the more quiet heroes are slighted by history. One such man is Charles Young. He wore no pearl-handled revolvers, did not pin grenades to his lapels, nor did he design his own uniform. His distinguishing feature was his skin color in an American Army just after the turn of the century that had only a few dark skinned officers.

Both his mother and father were former slaves. His father, Gabriel, served in the Union Army and was discharged shortly after the Civil War. While waiting for her husband’s return from the war, Arminta Young gave birth to Charles in a humble log cabin in Mays Lick, Kentucky, on 12 March 1864. His father moved to Ripley, Ohio, when Charles was a young boy, opening a life-long livery business. Charles went to high school in Ripley and taught at the colored school there for three years.

Appointed from Ohio to the U.S. Military Academy in June 1884, he graduated in 1889, the third African-American to do so out of the nine that had entered the academy up until that time. Young graduated 49th in a class of 49. He graduated two months later than the rest of his class so that he could repeat the math test, a subject that gave him much trouble. He was hazed at the academy and referred to as the load of coal. Upon graduation, he was commissioned Additional Second Lieutenant, 10th Cavalry. His entire field career was spent in black regiments the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and the 25th Infantry.

Young was an accomplished linguist, speaking Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and German. He served as Professor of Military Science at Wilberforce University, Ohio. A friend who knew him at Wilberforce University, said he was popular as a musician, vocalist, violinist, pianist and composer. He wrote a drama entitled Toussaint L Ouverture, an essay entitled Military Moral of Races, and a collection of poetry called Long Wings. A musician and composer, he was accomplished at the piano, harp, cornet and ukelele. Among his musical compositions were eight Beatitudes, a collection of hymn arrangements called Offertory, and a number of Serenades. Colonel Charles Young FULL TEXT PDF
Source: History of the American Negro in the Great World War, Date: 1919, Author: W. Allison Sweeney

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