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Sat, 03.12.1864

Charles Young, Military Officer born

Charles Young

*Charles Young was born on this date in 1864. He was a Black soldier, musician, and writer.

Born in Mayslick Kentucky his family moved to Ripley Ohio when he was 9 months old. Young was educated by his grandmother until the age of 8, she was the 1st Black woman licensed to teach in that section of the country.  Young graduated from high school at the age of 16, and (through examination)  won placement to West point.  In 1889, he graduated from West Point as a commissioned Second Lieutenant of Cavalry, Armed Forces of the United States. He was the third Black man to graduate from West Point at the time.  Five years later he was appointed Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Wilberforce University.

Skilled in Mathematics, French, Latin, Spanish and German, Young was promoted to Captain in 1901 and sent to the Philippines.  He was also appointed to Military Attache in Haiti from 1904 to 1908. It was here that he joined his 9th regiment and commanded a squadron of two troops. Four years later he was once again selected for Military Attache duty, this time to Liberia. For his service as adviser to the Liberian Government and his supervision of the building of the country's infrastructure, he was awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. Young authored a drama, "Toussaint L'ouverture", and an Essay "Military Morals of Races". He played many instruments from the Flute to Harp and composed 103 short poems including "Song Wing" and "A Troopers Burial".

He attained the rank of Major in 1912, the same year he joined Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Four years later he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel on July 1, 1916. Young was forced into premature retirement. In response he rode a horse from Xenia Ohio to Washington D. C to prove he was physically fit for active service during WW I. Too weak to command in France they said, but not too weak to traverse and suffer the swamps of West Africa, Colonel Young, was again assigned to Liberia as Military Attache. He died at that post on January 8, 1922, while on a research expedition in Lagos, Nigeria.

Colonel Charles Young's funeral service was one of the few ever held at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.  Colonel Charles Young's home is scheduled to become the future site of the National Museum of African American Military History.  It's unique history relives the days when it was a way station for the Underground Railroad.

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