Side A: Charles Young in Ripley. Upon his death in 1922, Colonel Charles Young was the highest ranking African American officer in the United States Army. Born into slavery in Kentucky in 1864, Young moved to Ripley with his parents Gabriel and Arminta in the 1870s. He excelled academically, graduating with honors from Ripley High School in 1881 and accepted a teaching position in Ripley’s African American school thereafter. Encouraged by his father, a Civil War veteran, mentored by J. T. Whitman, superintendent of the school, and John P. Parker, entrepreneur and former Underground Railroad conductor, Young sought and accepted, in 1884, an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was the third African American to graduate, in 1889, and the last to do so until Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. in 1936.
Side B: Rose from 2nd lieutenant to lieutenant colonel in the “Buffalo Soldier” regiments of the 9th and 10th Calvary and the 25th Infantry in the American West (after 1889), the Philippines (1901-’02), and Mexican Punitive Expedition (1916-’17); Professor of Military Science, Wilberforce University, Ohio, 1894-’98; Commanded 9th Battalion, Ohio National Guard, Spanish-American War, 1898-’99; U.S. military attache to Hispaniola, 1904-1907 and Liberia, 1912-’15, 1920-’22; First African American National Park Superintendent, of Sequoia National Park, 1903; Recipient of the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, 1916; Promoted to full colonel and was retired, 1917; To prove his fitness after a forced retirement, Young made a 16 day, 497 mile horseback ride from Wilberforce to Washington, D.C. in 1918 and was reinstated; Died in 1922 while military attache to Liberia. Buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Sponsors: Ripley Heritage, Inc, Parker Historical Society, Inc, and The Ohio History Connection