Born to enslaved parents in 1864, Charles Young grew up in Ripley, Ohio, where the family moved after his father was discharged from the 5th United States Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment post Civil War.
With much emphasis placed on education in the Young household, Charles excelled in his studies. Often studying with his mother at home, Charles graduated atop his high school class. Then he became a teacher at a local school.
A few years later, with encouragement from his father, Charles took the entrance exam for West Point. He scored second highest in his district, receiving admission after the top candidate chose not to enroll.
At West Point, Charles experienced much racism and often felt lonely. But he persevered through the challenges and received help from some students along the way, graduating in 1887.
After graduating, Charles would serve in the military, teach at a university, and act as superintendent of multiple national parks. He passed away in 1921.
“Charles Young: Short Story Biography” sources: Portrait of Cadet Charles Young by Pach Brothers, NY – Courtesy of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center Wilberforce, Ohio / Colonel Charles Young – National Park Service / Wikipedia