Early Black leader to be brought to life in presentation
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The life of an early African-American leader in Kentucky will be presented on stage later this month.
Phoenix Rising, Lex together with Kentucky Chautauqua, will present Colonel Charles Young: Bridge Builder at Charles Young Park at 540 E. Third St. in Lexington from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 26.
Charles Young was the third African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
He was born near Mays Lick, Ky., in Mason County on March 12, 1864, a year before the end of the Civil War. His father, Gabriel Young, ran away from enslavement and joined the Union Army during the war.
Gabriel, and his wife, Arminta, moved to Ripley, Ohio, to raise their son after the war ended.
Young had a distinguished career of more than 30 years in the United States Army, rising from lieutenant to colonel, all while battling racism in a nearly all-white officer corps.
Young’s success in an army that was not quite ready to embrace him required steadfast devotion and perseverance. He was at the height of his career when America entered World War I.
Young accomplished much during his military service, including being the first African American superintendent of a national park, the first African American military attaché, and the highest-ranking African American Regular Army officer at the time of his death.
Colonel Charles Young is portrayed by Michael Jones of Paris. Jones holds a B.A. from Morehouse College and an M.A. from the University of California, Riverside.
He spent several years working as a museum curator for the Kentucky Historical Society and currently works for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet as a Historic Preservation Program Administrator.
Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of Kentucky Humanities with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from: Christina Lee Brown, the Carson-Myre Charitable Foundation, the Cralle Foundation, Farmers State Bank, the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, PNC, the R.C. Durr Foundation, and Judy Rhoads.