Presidential Proclamation: Col. Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers to Become National Monument

Col. Charles Young Buffalo Soldier gets monument via Presidential Proclamation

Presidential Proclamation: Col. Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers to Become National Monument (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Establishment of the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument: The African American Experience Fund of the National Park Foundation was instrumental in making this happen, saying “The monument will preserve the home and post-Civil War military legacy of Col. Charles Young (1864-1922), a distinguished officer in the United States Army who was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first to achieve the rank of colonel. He was also the first African American to serve as a superintendent of a national park, commanding his regiment, the 9th U.S. Cavalry, assigned to the Presidio in California.”

Here’s the Presidential Proclamation:

Colonel Charles Young was the highest ranking African-American commanding officer in the United States Army from 1894 until his death in 1922. He also served as the first African-American superintendent of a national park, overseeing Sequoia and General Grant (now Kings Canyon) National Parks while commanding a troop of Buffalo Soldiers in the years before the creation of the National Park Service.

Young served nearly his entire military career with the all-black 9th and 10th Calvary regiments, often called “Buffalo Soldiers.” Commissioned in 1889 as a second lieutenant, Young attained the rank of colonel in 1917. During his career he served on the western frontier, saw combat in the Philippines, and rode with General John “Black Jack” Pershing in Mexico in 1916. He was the first African American to serve as a United States military attaché, first to Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and later to Liberia. Young’s diverse military career included a posting to Wilberforce University to serve as a professor of tactics and military science.

Born to enslaved parents in Kentucky in 1864, Young’s parents, Gabriel and Arminta Young, moved to Ripley, Ohio, in 1866 with their two-year-old son Charles to improve their prospects after the Civil War. This Ohio River town was a center of abolitionism renowned as a welcoming place on the Underground Railroad during the antebellum years. Young thrived there and, in 1881 at age 17, he graduated with academic honors as a member of his integrated high school class. His mother encouraged his life-long intellectual and musical pursuits. Young grew up proud of his father’s military service as a Union soldier during the Civil War, and he heeded his father’s advice by entering the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1889, Young was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the last African American to complete West Point until 1936.

Young established his career between 1889 and 1907, serving in the 9th Cavalry at western posts as a second lieutenant in Nebraska and Utah before accepting the military posting at Wilberforce University, where he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. During the Spanish-American War he was commissioned in the volunteers as a major, and accepted command of the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Battalion. Although the unit did not deploy or see action, it gained a reputation for discipline and efficiency. Following the war, he returned to his regiment, and was promoted to captain in 1901. He saw combat with the regiment in the Philippine Islands and returned with the 9th Cavalry to California, where his troop was selected as honor guard for the visiting President Theodore Roosevelt — the first time African-American soldiers had served in that capacity. While assigned to the Presidio, Young and his regiment of Buffalo Soldiers were dispatched to Sequoia and General Grant National Parks where Young served as the acting superintendent, and earned the respect of not only the African-American troops he commanded, but also of the white construction crews he directed. His achievements drew the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt. Captain Young was appointed military attaché to Hispaniola in 1904 — the first such appointment for an African American — before rejoining the 9th Cavalry in the Philippines, Wyoming, and Texas from 1908 to 1911.

In 1894, when Young accepted a posting at Wilberforce University, he returned to Ohio and with his widowed mother purchased a large house and adjoining farmland, which he named “Youngsholm.” While a professor at Wilberforce University, Young established life-long friendships with poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and philosopher W.E.B. Dubois. Youngsholm served as a gathering place for elite African-American thinkers, performers, and leaders. Young opened his doors to aspiring young people, and welcomed a revolving extended family there even during his many military postings. Although Young’s career took him to far-flung places, it was Wilberforce, Ohio — where he established his home, raised a family, mentored a successive generation of leaders, and found intellectual refuge — that remained his base of operation.

From 1912 to 1916, Young served as the military attaché to Liberia, helping to train the Liberian Frontier Force, and then served as a squadron commander during the Punitive Expedition in Mexico against Pancho Villa. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Agua Caliente, leading his men to the aid of a cavalry unit that had been ambushed. During the same period, Young won additional promotions, to major in 1912, and lieutenant colonel in 1916. The 1916 examination board for his promotion to lieutenant colonel acknowledged Young’s prior illness (malaria contracted while in Liberia), but concluded he was fit for duty.

On the eve of World War I, Young was the highest ranking African-American officer in the U.S. Army. As the United States readied its forces for Europe, Young and his supporters expected that he would continue to rise in rank and contribute to the wartime effort. Subsequent examination boards recommended Young for a promotion, but also noted medical concerns about his fitness to serve. In June 1917, Young was selected for promotion to the rank of colonel; however, his physical exam revealed he suffered from nephritis (a condition first diagnosed in 1901), high blood pressure, and an enlarged heart. Around the same time, several Southern Senators were pressuring President Woodrow Wilson and his Secretary of War to take steps to reassign or otherwise prevent white officers from serving under Young’s command. Indeed, as the United States entered World War I, the War Department generally kept African Americans from assuming leadership of African-American regiments being sent to France and largely restricted African-American troops to non-combat roles.

In July 1917, Young was medically retired as a result of his illnesses, and promoted to Colonel in recognition of his distinguished Army service. Young was disappointed, and he and his supporters asked for reconsideration. To demonstrate his fitness to serve, Young — who was then 54 — made an historic 500-mile horseback ride from Wilberforce, Ohio, to Washington, D.C. Afterwards, the Secretary of War gave Young an informal hearing, but did not reverse the decision. The War Department’s action in this matter was controversial, especially within the African-American community, during this time of significant racial tension. Young continued to protest his retirement and work for the civil rights of all African-American soldiers.

Yet, Young’s career was not over. Though medically retired, he was retained on a list of active duty officers. During World War I, the War Department sent him back to Ohio to help muster and train African-American troops being recruited for the war. Days before the November 1918 armistice, Young was assigned for a few months to Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois, to train African-American servicemen for non-combat duties. Shortly thereafter, at the request of the State Department, Colonel Young was sent once more to serve again as military attaché to Liberia, arriving in Monrovia in February 1920. While in neighboring Nigeria, he passed away at the British hospital in Lagos on January 8, 1922. In 1923, Colonel Charles Young became only the fourth soldier to be honored with a funeral service at the Arlington Amphitheatre before burial in Arlington Cemetery.

Colonel Charles Young’s story and leadership are also emblematic of the experience of the Buffalo Soldiers during difficult and racially tense times. The story of the Buffalo Soldiers’ bravery and service is not fully told at any existing national park sites. In 1866, the Congress established six all-black regiments, later consolidated to four, to help rebuild the country after the Civil War and to patrol the remote western frontier during the “Indian Wars.” Although the pay was low for the time — only $13 a month — many African Americans enlisted because they could earn more and be treated with more dignity than they typically could in civilian life. According to legend, American Indians called the black cavalry troops “buffalo soldiers” because of their dark, curly hair, which resembled a buffalo’s coat. Aware of the buffalo’s fierce bravery and fighting spirit, the African-American troops accepted the name with pride and honor.

The Buffalo Soldiers fought alongside white regiments in many conflicts and were instrumental in the exploration and settlement of western lands. They were also an important part of the early history of America’s national parks. Before the Congress created the National Park Service in 1916, the U.S. Army played a critical role in administering several parks. The Army sent the Buffalo Soldiers stationed at the Presidio to manage Yosemite, General Grant, and Sequoia National Parks in California. The Buffalo Soldiers blazed early park trails, built roads, produced maps, drove out trespassing livestock, extinguished fires, monitored tourists, and kept poachers and loggers at bay.

WHEREAS section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431) (the “Antiquities Act”), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected;

WHEREAS the National Park Foundation and the Trust for Public Lands, with the assistance and cooperation of the Friendship Foundation, Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and Central State University, have relinquished the existing remainder of the Youngsholm property, consisting of Colonel Young’s home and surrounding farmland, to the United States for the purpose of establishing this monument;

WHEREAS it is in the public interest to preserve and protect the objects of historic and scientific interest associated with Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers at Youngsholm in Wilberforce, Ohio;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Antiquities Act, hereby proclaim, set apart, and reserve as the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (monument) the objects identified above and all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States within the boundaries described on the accompanying map, which is attached to and forms a part of this proclamation, for the purpose of protecting those objects. These reserved Federal lands and interests in lands encompass 59.65 acres, which is the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected….

Actor Danny Glover: Second Amendment Written to Strengthen Slavery, Take Land From Native Americans

Danny Glover

Actor Danny Glover:  Second Amendment Written to Strengthen Slavery, Take Land From Native Americans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During a discussion with Texas A&M University students at an event to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., actor Danny Glover said the Second Amendment was written to strengthen the institution of slavery and to help take land away from Native Americans.

“I don’t know if people know the genesis of the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment comes from the right to protect, to protect themselves from slave revolts and from uprisings from Native Americans. A revolt from people who were stolen from their land or revolt from people whose land was stolen from, that’s what the genesis of the Second Amendment is,” Glover said.

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On This Day Jan. 13, 1966: LBJ Appoints Robert C. Weaver as First Black Cabinet Member

Robert Weaver first black cabinet member

On This Day Jan. 13, 1966: LBJ Appoints Robert C. Weaver as First Black Cabinet Member (Photo credit:  Wikipedia)

On This Day in history Jan. 13, 1966: President Lyndon Johnson appointed the first black cabinet member.  Robert C. Weaver was appointed to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HHS), which is now referred to as Health and Human Services.

Separately, Patricia Roberts Harris was the first black woman appointed as a cabinet member. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1977.

Tavis Smiley Slams “Django Unchained” Calls it a “Spoof About Slavery”

Jamie Foxx Django Unchained

N-Word Used 109 Times in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” Starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington

Tavis Smiley slams “Django Unchained,” calls it a “spoof about slavery.” Is anyone surprised that he joins Spike Lee in panning the controversial movie? Tavis Smiley told the Daily Beast he refuses to see the movie and won’t pay to see it, but has read the screenplay.

During the interview with the Daily Beast, he called out Quentin Tarantino for his “arrogance” and slammed his criticism of the legendary television miniseries, “Roots.” Tarantino said of Roots in a previous interview with the Daily Beast, “When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either.”He added, “It didn’t move me because it claimed to be something it wasn’t.” I suppose “Django Unchained” is supposed to move us, but I, too, refuse to watch this mockery of slavery.

More on Tavis Smiley’s comments:  “I’m troubled that Hollywood won’t get serious about making an authentic film about the holocaust of slavery but they will greenlight a spoof about slavery, and it’s as if this spoof about slavery somehow makes slavery a bit easier to swallow. The suffering of black people is not reducible to revenge and retribution. The black tradition has taught the nation what it means to love. Put it another way: black people have learned to love America in spite of, not because of, so if the justification for the film in the end is, as Jamie Foxx’s Django says, “What, kill white people and get paid for it? What’s wrong with that?”­ well again, black suffering is not reducible to revenge and retribution.”

So, let me get this straight — when the black guy, Alex Haley, tells his version of slavery in “Roots,” it’s not authentic, but when the white guy, Quentin Tarantino, does in “Django Unchained,” it’s authentic? Wow, that took a great deal of hubris on Quentin Tarantino’s part to make such an assertion.


Jan. 7, 1789: White Male Property Owners Only Allowed to Vote in 1st Presidential Election

george washington wins first presidential election

Jan. 7, 1789: White Property Owners Only Allowed to Vote in 1st Election in U.S.

On This Day January 7, 1789: America held it’s first presidential election. Only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. George Washington won the election and was sworn in on April 30, 1789, as the first President of the United States. Women and blacks were shut out of such a momentous event in this country’s history.

The bigger question for me is whether we have truly overcome? The same demographic — wealthy whites are still calling the shots fast-forward to 2013. We saw how the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Karl Rove and others through super PACs tried to hijack the presidential election. They are still calling the shots in many areas in our society. They spent millions of their own money trying to defeat President Barack Obama. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney insulted working class Americans, by labeling 47 percent as deadbeats who want the government to take care of them.

When the election results came in and President Obama won reelection, another wealthy white American, Donald Trump, tweeted that we should have a revolution because there was no way he won reelection fair and square. The wealthy white Republican establishment was in a tizzy because the black guy, who threatened to raise their taxes, managed to win 332 Electoral College votes, virtually shutting out their candidate, a man who stashed his money in off-shore accounts in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Isle of Jersey, etc. Two wealthy white business owners openly threatened to lay off workers if President Obama won reelection. Some, such as Applebee’s CEO Zane Tankel, threatened to fire workers or make them part-time over Obamacare. So much power is still concentrated in the hands of so few.

Added to that mess was there deliberate attempt by white politicians to engage in voter intimidation and voter suppression. The long lines we saw all over the country on election day were eerily reminiscent of the long lines blacks stood in when they got the right to vote. We are still grappling with a double digit unemployment rate in the black community. Well, in the 1700s blacks didn’t have a voice. They were treated like property. We may not be treated like property now, in the true sense of the word, but many are trapped by harsh economic realities and are voiceless and faceless.

President Obama Recognizes 150th Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation Issued January 1, 1863

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

President Obama Recognizes 150th Anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation Issued January 1, 1863. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy New Year to all our supporters and readers! President Obama recognized the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. On this day, January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, claiming that all slaves in the Confederacy were “forever free.” The Southern states refused to join the Union and “rebelled” against the U.S.A.

Presidential Proclamation — 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation




On December 31, 1862, our Nation marked the end of another year of civil war. At Shiloh and Seven Pines, Harpers Ferry and Antietam, brother had fought against brother. Sister had fought against sister. Blood and bitterness had deepened the divide that separated North from South, eroding the bonds of affection that once united 34 States under a single flag. Slavery still suspended the possibility of an America where life and liberty were the birthright of all, not the province of some.

Yet, even in those dark days, light persisted. Hope endured. As the weariness of an old year gave way to the promise of a new one, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation — courageously declaring that on January 1, 1863, “all persons held as slaves” in rebellious areas “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” He opened the Union Army and Navy to African Americans, giving new strength to liberty’s cause. And with that document, President Lincoln lent new moral force to the war by making it a fight not just to preserve, but also to empower. He sought to reunite our people not only in government, but also in freedom that knew no bounds of color or creed. Every battle became a battle for liberty itself. Every struggle became a struggle for equality.

Our 16th President also understood that while each of us is entitled to our individual rights and responsibilities, there are certain things we cannot accomplish on our own. Only a Union could serve the hopes of every citizen, knocking down the barriers to opportunity and giving each of us the chance to pursue our highest aspirations. He knew that in these United States, no dream could ever be beyond our reach when we affirm that individual liberty is served, not negated, by seeking the common good.

It is that spirit that made emancipation possible and codified it in our Constitution. It is that belief in what we can do together that moved millions to march for justice in the years that followed. And today, it is a legacy we choose not only to remember, but also to make our own. Let us begin this new year by renewing our bonds to one another and reinvesting in the work that lies ahead, confident that we can keep driving freedom’s progress in our time.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 1, 2013, as the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation and reaffirm the timeless principles it upheld.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.


Also on this day, 1802: President Jefferson, reprimanded clerics in his famour “Danbury Letter,” who were mixing politics and religion. He reminded them of the First Amendment and the “wall of separation” between church and state.

1818:  President Monroe moved into the White House approximately 41 months after British troops burned the Executive Mansion to the ground during the War of 1812.

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On This Day: Dec. 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon Raised Taxes on the Rich, Cut Taxes for Most Americans

On This Day December 30:

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the U...

On This Day: Dec. 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon Raised Taxes on the Rich, Cut Taxes for Most Americans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 1969: President Richard Nixon signed a sweeping tax reform legislation, raising them on the rich and cutting taxes for most Americans by five percent. The tax reform exempted nine million low-income citizens from paying any taxes at all and also sharply raised Social Security benefits.

More on This Day in history:

1958 Rebel guerrillas, led by Fidel Castro, were involved in heavy fighting around the town of Santa Clara, the capital of the province of Las Villas.  Two days later, Castro and his guerrillas had taken control and President Batista fled the country to the Dominican Republic.

1903 The Iroquois Theater Fire in Chicago, Illinois, claimed 602 lives, after being open for just over a month. This remains the worst single-building fire in U.S. history for the number of lives lost.

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On This Day: Dec 29 President Andrew Johnson was Born, President Washington Acknowledged Seneca Nation

ON THIS DAY:  December 29

President George Washington

On This Day: Dec 29 President Andrew Johnson was Born, President Washington Acknowledged Seneca Nation

1790: President George Washington told the Seneca Nation that the U.S. was dedicated to friendship with Indians. “In future you cannot be defrauded of your lands… you possess the right to sell, and the right of refusing to sell your lands.”

1808: Andrew Johnson was born. He became the 17th president after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Andrew Johnson served between 1865-69 and was impeached for trying to fire War Secretary Stanton. The Senate later acquitted Johnson by one vote.

Today in History: President John F. Kennedy Assassinated in Dallas November 22, 1963

Cropping of the Polaroid photograph of the ass...

Today in History:  President John F. Kennedy Assassinated in Dallas November 22, 1963. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today in History:  President John F. Kennedy assassinated November 22, 1963, as he and his wife rode in a motorcade through downtown Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was later arrested for the murder but is shot shortly after by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

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TODAY IN HISTORY: President John F. Kennedy Signed Executive Order Banning Segregation in Federal Funded Housing

Photo: Today in history: November 20, 1962 President John F. Kennedy signs  Executive Order 11063, which "prohibits discrimination in the sale, leasing, rental, or other disposition of properties and facilities owned or operated by the federal government or provided with federal funds." The order banned segregation in federally funded housing, though it was left up to the states to enforce.

TODAY IN HISTORY:  November 20, 1962, President John F. Kennedy signs Executive Order 11063, which “prohibits discrimination in the sale, leasing, rental, or other disposition of properties and facilities owned or operated by the federal government or provided with federal funds.” The order banned segregation in federally funded housing, though it was left up to the states to enforce.