News Column

Buffalo Soldiers to Get National Monument

March 26, 2013
Buffalo soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment, 1890. (Photo: Public domain, Creative Commons)
Buffalo soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment, 1890. (Photo: Public domain, Creative Commons)

Ohio is home to a new national monument.

President Barack Obama Monday approved creation of the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Xenia in Southwest Ohio.

Charles Young was the third African-American to graduate from West Point. He rose through the ranks from second lieutenant to colonel and served his country in such varied capacities as an acting superintendent at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (1903), an officer in the punitive expeditions against Pancho Villa in Mexico (1916), and as a military attache to Monrovia, Liberia (1920).

Young died in Lagos, Nigeria, on Jan. 8, 1922, at the age of 58. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

He always considered Xenia to be his home.

After deployments in the west with the 9th U.S. Cavalry, the War Department assigned Young to serve as a professor of military science and tactics at Wilberforce University in Ohio in 1894.

Because the American military in the 19th century was rigidly segregated and there were few command opportunities for black officers like Young, the chance to command and instruct a cadet corps at Wilberforce was a choice assignment. Young relished the position and volunteered to serve as an instructor of French, chemistry, geometry and geology, as well as military science and tactics. He appears to have been well regarded by his students and peers.

Young's house became a gathering place for a burgeoning black intelligentsia including a young Wilberforce professor named W.E.B. Du Bois and an aspiring poet and friend of the Wright Brothers, Paul Lawrence Dunbar.

Source: (c)2013 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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