Monday 2 October 2023


This man became the First Black American US Army Colonel in 1916. He was a Soldier who fought in the Philippines and the Mexico Expedition. He was a Statesman who was The United States Military Attachรฉ, to Haiti in 1904 and Liberia in 1916. He was a Scholar whose book, "The Military Morale of Nations and Races” became a well- regarded text book.

Here is an excerpt of that book. 

"Great nations, originate from the mixing of many races; they are like fine bronzes, into whose composition enter many metals."

Here is his story:

Charles Young was the first African American to achieve the rank of colonel in the United States Army and, until his death in 1922; he was the highest-ranking African American officer. In 1884, he reported to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He became its third African American graduate five years later. After graduating with a commission as a second lieutenant, he proceeded to serve 28 years with black troops in the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalries. He had multiple military assignments both foreign and domestic, and it was after his service in Mexico, during the 1916 Punitive Expedition, that he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. During the 1916 Punitive Expedition by the United States into Mexico, then Major Young commanded the 2nd squadron of the 10th United States Cavalry. While leading a cavalry pistol charge against Pancho Villa's forces at Agua Caliente (1 April 1916), he routed the opposing forces without losing a single man. His swift action saved the wounded General Beltran and his men of the 13th Cavalry, who had been outflanked. Because of his exceptional leadership of the 10th Cavalry in the Mexican theater of war, Young was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in September 1916. He was assigned as commander of Fort Huachuca, the base in Arizona of the Tenth Cavalry, nicknamed the "Buffalo Soldiers", until mid-1917. He was the first African American to achieve the rank of colonel in the US Army.

In 1912 Young published "The Military Morale of Nations and Races," a remarkably prescient study of the cultural sources of military power. He argued against the prevailing theories of the fixity of racial character, using history and social science to demonstrate that even supposedly servile or un-military races (such as Negroes and Jews) displayed martial virtues when fighting for democratic societies. Thus the key to raising an effective mass army from among a polyglot American people was to link patriotic service with fulfillment of the democratic promise of equal rights and fair play for all. Young's book was dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt, and invoked the principles of Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" -- but with a more liberal and egalitarian understanding of racial "character." Young was placed on the U.S. Army’s inactive list during World War I, but was reinstated as a full colonel in 1918. For his achievements, in 1916 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) awarded Young the Spingarn Medal, given annually to the African American demonstrating the highest achievement and contributions.

He died in 1922 while on a reconnaissance mission in Nigeria. He received a full military funeral and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.



Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1789-1903. Francis B. Heitman. Vol. 1. pg. 1066

Official Register of Commissioned Officers of the United States Army. December 1, 1918. pg. 1009.

 "Charles Young". The Crisis. The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc.: 104 1 July 1923.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...