THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE FUND
Support the Colonel Charles Young Legacy Campaign!
The African American Experience Fund (AAEF) of the National Park Foundation needs your help to preserve the history, home and legacy of Charles Young, an American hero.
On March 25, 2013, President Barack Obama designated Colonel Young’s home as a national historic site: the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio. Today, your help is needed to preserve and develop this great American story which is also the potential future site of the Colonel Charles Young Leadership Academy.
Charles Young was the third African American to graduate from West Point Military Academy; a Military Science and Tactics instructor at Wilberforce University; a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity; the first African American Military Attache, the first foreign diplomat from any nation to serve in Haiti; the first African American National Park Superintendent (Sequoia and General Grant National Parks in California), the first African American Colonel in the United States Army, and the highest ranking African American officer in World War I.
Young's home in Wilberforce, Ohio was a hub for intellectual discourse and the arts, fueled by his close friendships with the renowned poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and pioneering sociologist, W.E.B. Dubois. Charles Young was an accomplished composer and musician who played the piano, violin, and cornet. He was an accomplished linguist who mastered German, Italian, Spanish, Latin and Greek. He was a living testament to the regimental mottoes of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry troops he commanded, the legendary Buffalo Soldiers, with their stalwart cry “We Can, We Will!” and “Ready and Forward!”
Your contribution will help establish the Youth Leadership Academy, where youth will study multi-disciplinary curricula that focuses on leadership through mentoring by Omega Psi Phi fraternity members, retired U.S. military officers, educators, preservationists, business leaders and historians. This program will inspire young leaders, cultivate future park stewards, rangers and staff through community service, to follow in the footsteps of an “officer and a gentleman” who never wavered in his pursuit of excellence. One who captured that hard won brilliance and held it aloft as a beacon for all to see; that genius is not always a gift, sometimes it’s a goal, cold and remote as a mountaintop.
Mr. Muhammad Abdur-Rashid, Director, Major and Planned Giving
National Park Foundation