Under the Antiquities Act, President Barack Obama designated The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument on March 25, 2013. The national monument preserves and interprets the history and legacies of Colonel Charles Young and the famed Buffalo Soldiers of the U.S. Army.
In National Parks
With the creation of America's national parks in the late 19th century, the need for protection became evident after people began exploiting park resources for commercial gain. As there was no agency in charge of the nation's park lands, the Army was designated to oversee these federal public lands. Many Buffalo Soldiers went on to patrol and protect the early park lands, serving as the first rangers in many of them.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers NM Junior Ranger
Earn your very own Junior Ranger badge from the park and learn about Charles Young and the famed Buffalo Soldiers.
Troopers from the 10th Cavalry received the Buffalo Soldiers nickname by the Cheyenne and other Plains Indians. The origin of the name remains uncertain, though some say it was in response to the buffalo-hide coats worn by the soldiers in cold weather; others suggest it referred to the rugged and tireless marching of the cavalrymen. The most widespread account tells that the nickname began because the hair of the black cavalrymen resembled the dark, curly hair of the buffalo.
"The life of Charles Young was a triumph of tragedy." - W.E.B. Du Bois
Charles Young was born into slavery in Kentucky in 1864. He was the third African American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, the first African American military attaché, and the highest ranking black officer in the United States Army until his death in 1922. He also taught military science at Wilberforce University, during which time he purchased this house, which he called "Youngsholm". The house was built in 1832 and is reported to have served as a way station on the Underground Railroad.
Learn more about these extraordinary men and the story of the park when you explore these web pages.
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Learn about the African Americans who answered the call of duty and enlisted in the U.S. Army after the Civil War through the mid-20th century.
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Learn about the history and creation of the park and view important information about park operations.
Choose from one of the four periods below or click on a quick link to go to that page:
- The Early Years: 1866 - 1890
- The U.S. emerges as a World Power: 1890 - 1916
- The WWI Era: 1916 - 1935
- The WWII Era and Integration: 1935 - 1951
The Origins of the Buffalo Soldiers
Before there were National Park Service rangers, there was the U.S. Army. And within the army, a remarkable unit known as the Buffalo Soldiers had lasting impacts in places still preserved as national parks today. Over a century later, their stories and legacy are interwoven in the fabric of this nation’s history. Delve into their fascinating and inspiring story and retrace the footsteps of the Buffalo Soldiers in these national parks.
Download the trip planning guide and checklist. Make your fun adventure a safe one too! No one plans to get hurt while out exploring in a National Park. However, nature is unpredictable, structures are historical, and your equipment can unexpectedly fail. Planning can be the key to a fun and safe adventure. Remember, safety starts with you!
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