Ohio State Senate Votes to Extend the Kentucky Brigadier General Charles Young Memorial Historical Corridor

National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations. Left to right: Reverend L. Rodney Bennett, Former Kentucky State Representative Mike Denham, former Judge/Executive of Mason County James Gallenstein, NCOBV Chairman Charles Blatcher, III, Chief of Staff Michael Theard, Secretary of Tourism, Lindy Casebier, and Judge/Executive Mason County Fiscal Court, Owen McNeill. Photo credit: Kentucky dedication ceremony June 1, 2023.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailBy: Charles Blatcher, III
Chairman, National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations
Date:  June 30, 2024
For Immediate Release

In a February 2023 Black History Month speech given to the Kentucky State Legislative body, we called for the establishment of the Brigadier General Charles Young Memorial Historical Corridor. The legislative request was carried forward by State Senators Gerald Neal and Stephen West. Governor Andy Beshear signed Senate Joint Resolution #58 into law in March of 2023. We unveiled the first road sign on June 1st in a ceremony held at the Kentucky/Ohio bridge in Maysville. The route begins in Nicholasville at Camp Nelson to Charles Young’s birth cabin in Mays Lick. Within the sixty-eight miles separating the locations lies Second Baptist Church where the Young Family worshiped in the mid 1860’s before seeking freedom on the Ohio side of the river, and the Rosenwald Negro School established in the 1920s. 

We requested the State of Ohio expand the corridor from Ripley, Ohio where Charles Young was raised to Wilberforce, the location of the National Monument and a host of other Black History sites. Representatives Terrence Upchurch and Adam Holmes carried the request forward in co-sponsoring House Resolution #253. 

Pending Governor Mike DeWine’s signature, the corridor extension will add another eighty-six miles and six additional historic Black locations to the route. Beginning with the abolitionist John Parker home in Ripley to Payne Theological Seminar in Wilberforce the route traces the life of Charles Young. The route encompasses the Charles Young and Buffalo Soldiers National Nonument, the Afro African Museum and Wilberforce University, where he once taught. 

The expansion increases the length of the corridor to one hundred and fifty-four miles, making it the largest region in the nation named honoring a Black veteran. While we are pleased with General Young having the honor, that was not the motivation behind us seeking the legislation. Instead, it offered a way for all ten historical treasures in the region to be recognized while focusing attention on General Young and his history. I traveled the route and met many of the people who are the stewards of the historical locations. The route is an education in Black American History from Camp Nelson, where Black Soldiers (US Colored Troops) were garrisoned and trained during the Civil War era to the Underground railroad that operated on both sides of the Kentucky/Ohio River. As Black History comes under attack in some parts of the country, the corridor offers an opportunity to support the preservation of the history by making it a point to visit. It is our hope the corridor will become a revenue generator to support future preservation efforts and public activities in the region. It is a weekend of meeting nice people in two states, eating great food, seeing the sights, and learning more about Black American History. Your visit would help preserve the history by showing public interest.  Plus, it is more educational than Disneyland and closer than Europe. 

Special thank you to former Kentucky State Representative Mike Denham, Kentucky State Senators Gerald Neal and Stephen West, and Ohio Representatives Terrence Upchurch and Adam Holmes for sponsoring the Corridor Resolutions. 

We “Salute” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for signing the Initiatives. 

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