March 25, 2013

Portman, Brown Applaud Designation of Charles P. Young House as National Monument

Senators Authored Legislation to Incorporate Young?s Wilberforce Home into the National Park System

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) applauded today’s announcement that the Charles P. Young House in Wilberforce will be part of a new national monument. The senators introduced legislation that would incorporate the house into the National Park System. Today’s announcement establishes the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in the Miami Valley to honor men, like Charles P. Young, who fought in African-American Calvary regiments.

“Colonel Young’s tremendous academic achievements and selfless acts of valor in the military have long been treasured by Ohioans, and now this national monument will further honor his rich legacy and preserve it for future generations across the country to enjoy,” Portman said.   

“The contributions made by Colonel Young—and so many other African-American soldiers who have fought for our nation—deserve to be honored on a national scale,” Brown said. “Colonel Young was a ground-breaking member of the military and a true example of the best of Ohio. Adding this home into the National Park System is an appropriate honor for this dedicated, selfless, and trailblazing American.”

President Obama used the authority given to him by the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the Charles Young House in Wilberforce and four other places National Monuments. The bill, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, gives the President the authority to designate public land parks or conservation land by executive order. In addition to the Charles P. Young House, President Obama designated four other places National Monuments, including the First State National Monument in Delaware and Pennsylvania, New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland.

Earlier this year, Portman and Brown introduced legislation to incorporate the Colonel Charles Young into the National Park System. In April 2011, Brown joined Central State University President John W. Garland at the Charles Young House in Xenia to discuss the bill and highlight the site.

Charles Young was born to ex-slaves in Mays Lick, Kentucky in 1864.  His father, Gabriel, served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Colonel Charles Young was the third African-American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1889.  A Buffalo Soldier serving with the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 25th Infantry, Young eventually became the first African American to achieve the rank of Colonel in the United States Army.

Young was returned to active duty in 1918 and was promoted to Colonel.  He was later appointed United States military attaché to Liberia.  Colonel Charles Young died in 1922 while visiting Lagos, the capital of British Nigeria. His body was returned to the United States in 1923 and interred at Arlington National Cemetery.  The eulogy was delivered by his friend, W.E. B. DuBois.

Colonel Young’s home is located on U.S. Route 42 in Wilberforce and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior. They must possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. The National Park Service staff nominates new landmarks and provides assistance to existing landmarks.