Charles Young

Charles Young was born into slavery on March 12, 1864 to Gabriel Young and Arminta Bruen in Mays Lick, Kentucky, a small village near Maysville.   His father escaped from slavery early in 1865, crossing the Ohio River to Ripley, Ohio, and enlisted in the Fifth Regiment of Colored Artillery (Heavy) near the end of the American Civil War.  Gabriel’s service earned him and his wife their freedom, as guaranteed by the 13th Amendment after the war.   

Young was the only “Colored” student who attended the all-White high school in Ripley.   Upon graduating in 1880 at the top of his class, he taught school for several years in the new all-Black high school that was opened in Ripley.  In 1884, Young entered U.S. Military Academy at West Point. There, he shared a room with John Hanks Alexander, who, in 1887, became the 2nd African-American to graduate from West Point.  Young was repeatedly treated with excessive abuse by many of the students and faculty; he remained steadfast, despite the obvious racial discrimination and loneliness, graduating in 1889, with his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. 

For greater enlightenment...

For further enlightenment:


The Buffalo Soldiers and the American West by Jason Glaser

For Race and Country: The Life and Career of Colonel Charles Young by David Kilroy.

Black Faces of War: A Legacy of Honor from the American Revolution to Today by Robert V. Morris.

Black Cadet in a White Bastion: Charles Young at West Point by Brian Shellum.