Charles Young posthumously promoted to honorary rank of Brigadier General

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Charles Young

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – As part of the Legislative Black History Month Celebration held in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear posthumously promoted Colonel Charles Young to the honorary rank of Brigadier General in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Brigadier General Young was born in Mays Lick, Kentucky, to enslaved parents in 1864. He valued education throughout his life and graduated with honors from high school in Ohio, where his parents escaped slavery.

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Young taught elementary school and entered the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. Brigadier General Young consistently set the standard of what it meant to be an Army officer while serving in various assignments ranging from Haiti and Liberia, to Mexico and Nigeria. When he was medically discharged from active duty, Young was the highest-ranking African American officer in the military, having been promoted to Colonel.

“Brigadier General Young was a pioneer that showed groundbreaking dedication to his country and peers while becoming only the third African-American graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “It is a great honor to recognize General Young for consistently displaying moral courage and selfless service, all while overcoming personal adversity with honor and integrity.”

Charles Blatcher III, founder and chairman of the National Coalition of Black Veterans Organizations, whose mission it is to raise public awareness of the military contributions of African Americans and other minorities, was the keynote speaker at the event and talked about his support for rank-elevation of Brigadier General Young.

“Charles Young is a significant figure in black U.S. military history,” said Blatcher. “You can’t study the subject without coming upon his legacy. … Many Americans past and present felt had it not been for the political and social climate of the times, Colonel Young would have been the first black brigadier general in the regular United States armed forces. We agree.”

Following his death, Young was given full military honors and burial in Arlington National Cemetery where his legacy as a leader and example to others continues to remind Americans of what it means to persevere and excel through all things.

Young’s promotion is honorary and recognized in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. To read more about Young, click here.

The 2020 Black History Celebration also included greetings from Chief Justice John D. Minton, Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey and House Minority Floor Leader Joni L. Jenkins, as well as the keynote address from Blatcher.

Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus members in attendance were: Senator Gerald A. Neal; Senator Reginald Thomas; Rep. Reginald Meeks, chair; Rep. George A. Brown, Jr., vice chair; Rep. Charles Booker; Rep. Jim Glenn; Rep. Derrick Graham; Rep. Nima Kulkarni and Rep. Attica Scott.

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.