By: Charles Blatcher, III Chairman, National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations Release Date: March 12, 2021
Information was recently shared with the Coalition that a Library facility in the City of Les Cayes, Haiti will be named in honor of the late Brigadier General Charles Young. The Coalition is pleased to have the honor of joining in making the announcement public. In our opinion, this is a “Teachable Moment” in American & Black Military History. Then Captain Charles Young has a standing in Haiti where he served in the early 1900’s. His descendent Denese Johnson, General Manager of Operations of Legacy Enterprise in Haiti spearheaded the naming effort. She has been an avid supporter of efforts to gain a federal promotion for her distant relative. I was personally delighted to receive her message about the upcoming April groundbreaking ceremony. The following statement was issued by Alan Joseph, Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Enterprise. Legacy will manage the Library facility that will be located on their property.
“Legacy Enterprises is proud and honored to dedicate the naming of our library after Brigadier General Charles Young. As a Colonel in the US Army before WWI, Colonel Young was the highest ranking African – American in the Armed Forces. He became the first assigned Liaison to Haiti from the United States. He proudly served both countries from 1904 – 1907. Colonel Young was an exemplary promoter of education and an outstanding role model for both countries in which he carried out his duties. Being a pioneer in such trying times for black people, Colonel Young stood for the advancement of Black people through educational opportunities and freedom of expression. The Library dedicated in his name at Legacy will further the advancement of educational pursuits and opportunities for the citizens of Haiti. Thank you General Young your tireless dedication and the sacrifice you made were not in vain, they have transcended. Young minds will be nourished in your name.”
A brief lesson in history is in order. Captain Young volunteered to serve in Hispaniola, the name given the two Nation Island once divided between Spain and France. The Dominican Republic was under Spain and Haiti the French. Haitian declared their Independence from France on January 1, 1804 under the leadership of General Toussaint L Overture. Haiti became the world’s first free Black led Republic. According to scholarly report, Charles Young wanted the experience of serving in a nation under a Black Government. Haiti was an opportunity for his asking.
Charles Young held a fondness for Haiti and the legendary General Toussaint L Overture. The General is known as the Father of the Haitian Revolution. It is reported Young once said that he hoped to one day be like General Toussaint L Overture. An obvious gesture of respect for the General’s role and leadership in winning independence for his people.
The Coalition have in our holding a manuscript copy of a play titled, Toussaint L’ Overture: A Negro History Drama in Five Acts.” It is proposed to have been written by Charles Young. The original document can be found in the archives of the National Afro American Museum in Wilberforce, Ohio. A copy of the document and other relevant information about his history should be in the Brigadier General Charles Young Library collection. The Coalition will provide a copy of the manuscript with the approved transfer and other relevant materials.
We are sure Brigadier General Charles Young is looking down in appreciation of the recognition. The National Coalition of Black Veterans “Salute” our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti for bestowing the Honor. The announcement is most fitting coming on Brigadier General Charles Young’s 156th Birthday. The Coalition joined by Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky has called on President Biden to grant Charles Young an honorary promotion to Major General in the United States Army.
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