Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young

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9780803213852: Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young
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An unheralded military hero, Charles Young (1864–1922) was the third black graduate of West Point, the first African American national park superintendent, the first black U.S. military attaché, the first African American officer to command a Regular Army regiment, and the highest-ranking black officer in the Regular Army until his death. Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment tells the story of the man who―willingly or not―served as a standard-bearer for his race in the officer corps for nearly thirty years, and who, if not for racial prejudice, would have become the first African American general. Brian G. Shellum describes how, during his remarkable army career, Young was shuffled among the few assignments deemed suitable for a black officer in a white man’s army―the Buffalo Soldier regiments, an African American college, and diplomatic posts in black republics such as Liberia. Nonetheless, he used his experience to establish himself as an exceptional cavalry officer. He was a colonel on the eve of the United States’ entry into World War I, when serious medical problems and racial intolerance denied him command and ended his career. Shellum’s book seeks to restore a hero to the ranks of military history; at the same time, it informs our understanding of the role of race in the history of the American military.

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“During a long and distinguished career―from being the first African-American captain in the regular army and first to be in charge of a national park, to serving in the Phillipines, chasing Pancho Villa in Mexico, and representing the United States in Liberia―Charles Young succeeded in spite of the Jim Crow prejudices permeating the American military of his time. His is a remarkable and inspiring story, though often overlooked. In this well-researched book, Brian Shellum finally gives Young the historical attention he deserves.”―Dayton Duncan, author of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea Author: Dayton Duncan

" A valuable read for anyone with an interest in the final years of the frontier Army, American imperialism, African-Americans in military service, and American military history in general."―A.A. Nofi, Strategypage.com Author: A.A. Nofi Source: Strategypage.com

"Shellum's book is a welcome addition to recent studies of the black military experience. . . . This is an enjoyable, commanding, and well researched work." ―Bruce A. Glasrud, Journal of American History Author: Bruce A. Glasrud Source: Journal of American History

"Brian Shellum is to be congratulated for providing a first rate biography of a proud and competent officer serving during a difficult period of his country's history. "―Thomas R. Buecker, Nebraska History Author: Thomas R. Buecker Source: Nebraska History

"Brian Shellum has filled an important void in African American biography and American military history."―Ronald G. Coleman, Utah Historical Quarterly Author: Ronald G. Coleman Source: Utah Historical Quarterly

"This is a solid study of an important figure in American history. It is easy to recommend to those with an interest in military affairs, biography, and the African American experience."―Claude Clegg, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society Author: Claude Clegg Source: Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

From the Author:

Brian G. Shellum is a senior intelligence analyst with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization with the U.S. Department of Defense. He is the author of Black Cadet in a White Bastion: Charles Young at West Point, available in a Bison Books edition.

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