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Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

Updated on March 22, 2013

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

 Colonel Charles Young House, located along U.S. Route 42 between Xenia and Wilberforce in Xenia Township, Greene County, Ohio
Colonel Charles Young House, located along U.S. Route 42 between Xenia and Wilberforce in Xenia Township, Greene County, Ohio | Source

Buffalo Soldiers Honored in Ohio Town

The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio was added to the list of United States National Monuments by President Barack Obama in 2013.

The facility is located near Xenia, to the near south of the growing Springfield Metro Area and north of the Ohio Space Corridor.

Wilberforce was already the location of two traditionally African American colleges and the site of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. The national monument brings light to an additional chapter of our nation's history in the lives of the Buffalo Soldiers, African Americans that fought for the Union Army from just after the American Civil War forward through time until they were disbanded in 1951.

The Charles Young monument is important in that it celebrates the life and contributions of Colonel Charles Young (1864 - 1922). He was the third West Point graduate to be African American and the first Black national park superintendent in America. Colonel Young also continued to be the highest-ranked Black officer in the US Army during his lifetime. After his military service, he became a professor at Wilberforce University.

The Buffalo Soldiers were more contemporary than most of the public is aware. Although Colonel Young lived until 1922, the oldest member of that group was Mr. Mark Matthews, who lived to the age of 111 in 2005.

Traditional Black Colleges/Universities and Museum

show route and directions
A markerWilberforce University. -
Wilberforce University Fcu, 1055 North Bickett Road, Wilberforce, OH 45384, USA
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B markerCentral State University, Wilberforce OH -
Central State University: Public Relations, 1400 Brush Row Road, Wilberforce, OH, USA
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Charles Young

Captain Charles Young, early in his military career.
Captain Charles Young, early in his military career. | Source

Wilberforce Monuments and Museums

The National Afro-American Museum in Wilberforce is a particularly powerful place to visit. While teaching Adult Education classes for over a decade, my staff and I included this historical site on yearly field trips provided to our GED (General Equivalency Diploma) students.

The Buffalo Soldiers served as America's first park rangers, before the job title even existed, after the American Civil War. Colonel Young a US Army superintendent of parks at Sequioa and General Grant National Parks before the establishment of the National Parks Service under President Teddy Roosevelt's Administration in 1916.

Major Charles Young with additional officers in Mexico.
Major Charles Young with additional officers in Mexico. | Source

Arlington National Cemetery

YOUNG, CHARLES
COL US ARMY
DATE OF DEATH: 01/08/1922
BURIED AT: SECTION 3 SITE 1730-B
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

Adding to the Central State University complex, Colonel Young's final home was donated as a site for the Buffalo Soldier National Monument. It is also the National Museum of African American Military History and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1974.

Young's command assignments included both white and black enlisted men in Cuba, Haiti, Liberia, Mexico, the Philippines, and the USA for 37 years. In Cuba, he managed troops stationed for gathering military intelligence.

In America, he served in California, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah before serving as a national park superintendent and then accepting an assignment to teach military science, French, and mathematics in Wilberforce. The Colonel also directed the then-college band and wrote music.

After retiring from the military, Young rode his horse Blacksmith 500 miles from Wilberforce to Washington DC to illustrate his fitness for duty for WWI at age 54. Reinstated to active duty, he unfortunately died of an illness during a research expedition to Lagos, Nigeria in 1922.

Horseback Ride of Charles Young

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A markerWilberforce OH -
Wilberforce, OH, USA
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B markerWashington DC -
Washington, DC, USA
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The Reenactment Ride

Democrats and Republicans Agree

Both of Ohio's US Senators agreed that Colonel Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers deserve honors in addition to those afforded previously by Senate Resolution 97. That resolution honored both the individual and the group officially from the US Federal Government.

Ohio's Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, and Rob Portman, a Republican, sponsored the legislation to add Colonel Charles Young's Wilberforce home to the US National Park System as a National Monument in 2013.

Please feel free to visit as soon as you can. The Wilberforce - Central State University District is just southeast of the Dayton-Fairborn hub and the National Aviation Trail.

Antioch College is located a few miles north of Wilberforce in Yellow Springs. The college recently reopened after financial problems closed it for a time. It helps to celebrate the arts by sponsoring public arts projects in the town. Yellow Springs is also a gathering and celebration place for the United Remnant Band of Algonquian Native Americans in the area as well.

Western Ohio is full of travel delights and astounding history!

show route and directions
A markerWilberforce OH -
Wilberforce, OH, USA
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B markerAntioch College -
Antioch College, 1 Morgan Place, Yellow Springs, OH 45387, USA
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C markerFairborn OH -
Fairborn, OH, USA
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D markerDayton OH -
Dayton, OH, USA
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E markerFairborn OH -
Fairborn, OH, USA
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The Real Buffalo Soldiers

For an acurate time line, maps of engagements, photos, and history of the Buffalo Soldiers and their lives, please see the link below.

The History Of the Buffalo Soldiers

Teddy Roosevelt and the Buffalo Soldiers, San Francisco, 1903

President Theodore Roosevelt visited San Francisco during May 12 -14, 1903. Captain Young led the troops that served as Roosevelt's escort.
President Theodore Roosevelt visited San Francisco during May 12 -14, 1903. Captain Young led the troops that served as Roosevelt's escort. | Source

Colonel Young and the National Parks

The Museum was renovated and reopened in January 2013.
The Museum was renovated and reopened in January 2013. | Source

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      @michabelle - At least these men received their nickname from the Native Americans! I'm opretty sure the National Monument will be further refurbished and new features added, so that's exciting.

      @Ericdierker - Thanks for reading and enjoying this one!

      @wetnosedogs - Young was certainly an all around, Renaissance type man. Pretty interesting!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      No problem at all! I love hearing about the forts in Texas, along with more about the Buffalo Soldiers. Have a perfect weekend!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Another great Hub on a tremendously interesting subject -- thanks. To correct myself on some info I shared with you a while back -- the fort in West Texas that was primarily a Buffalo Soldier Fort is Ft. McKavett and NOT Ft. McKavitt -- another "senior moment" I guess! Best/Sis

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      Charles Young definitely deserves to be remembered.

      Thank you for writing this great hub.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well done, thank you.

    • michabelle profile image

      michabelle 5 years ago

      This is a very interesting hub. I was curious when I saw "buffalo" and suspected the article would be about Native Americans. What an interesting surprise! This is another lesser known yet important part of American History that you've skillfully addressed. Thanks for a very attractive and interesting article.

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