In 1974, the Col. Young House in Wilberforce, Ohio was named a national landmark. Today, March 25th, 2013, it received an even higher honor; The home now stands as a national monument.
In a closed ceremony, President Barack Obama used executive authority to designate five new national monuments. Using powers given to him under the Antiquities Act of 1906, the President issued protections for 5 "historic or ecologically significant sites around the country" - including the Col. Charles Young House.
Dr. Floyd Thomas is curator emeritus with the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. Thomas says Young may have been born a slave but went on to graduate from West Point, He was the first black man to
reach the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army. In his 30-plus years in the military military, Young led the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
Thomas calls Young "A Renaissance man" adding, "He was a barrier-buster, and he made it possible, through his incredible success, for others to follow in his footsteps. This monument will enable visitors from around the country and beyond to know about not only Charles Young," he said, "but the history of what the Buffalo Soldiers were all about and African-American military leadership."
In 1903, Col. Young became head of the National Park Service. Later in life, he became a professor at Wilberforce University, founded in 1856.
Young's home is located on U.S. Route 42, between Wilberforce and Xenia. It is believed to have been a stop on the underground railroad. Xenia Mayor Marsha Bayless is pleased with the honor bestowed upon an historically significant landmark.
Bayless says "The citizens of Xenia [and] Wilberforce community are extremely pleased that, finally, a man of this caliber, who has done so many great things, is recognized."
Both U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are applauding the announcement. They jointly introduced legislation that would add the home to the National Park Register.
The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior National Park Service.
Other sites designated as National Monuments the sites are: Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state.
(Information from Ohio News Connection and The Associated Press was used in this story)