DOI / VISTA Team Projects

Charles Young Buffalo Soldier National Monument

DOI / VISTA: Dr. Greer Staples
Supervisor: Dr. Joy Kinard
Address: P.O. Box 1128 Wilberforce, Wilberforce, Ohio 45384
County: Greene
Voice Telephone: 937-366-9524
Web site:
Congressional District: 10
Bureau: National Park Service (NPS)


Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument is currently being developed for visitor use. It is not yet open to the visiting public for regular visitation hours, but interpretive programs and exhibits are under development. The monument is being established to commemorate Charles Young and his life. Young was the third African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point; a Military Science and Tactics instructor at Wilberforce University; a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; the first African American Military Attaché; the first foreign diplomat from any nation to serve in Haiti; the first African American national park superintendent (in what is now Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in California); the first African American Colonel in the United States Army; and the highest ranking African American officer during the World War I era.  He was a living testament to the regimental mottoes of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry troops he commanded, the legendary Buffalo Soldiers, with their stalwart cry “We Can, We Will!” and “Ready and Forward!”

On March 25, 2013, President Barack Obama designated Colonel Young’s home in Wilberforce, Ohio as the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. Today, help is needed to preserve and develop this great American story which is also the potential future site of the Colonel Charles Young Leadership Academy. Contributions will help to establish the Colonel Charles Young Leadership Academy on 10 acres of this 59 acre site, where youth will study multidisciplinary curricula that focuses on leadership through mentoring by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. members, retired U.S. military officers, educators, preservationists, business leaders, and historians. Through community service, this academy will inspire young leaders and cultivate future park stewards and rangers to follow in the footsteps of an “officer and a gentleman” who never wavered in his pursuit of excell

About the Surrounding Community

In 2012, the American Community Survey (ACS) estimated Wilberforce, Ohio had a population of 1,786, one of the youngest populations, with a median age of 20.1. However, Ohio had one of the highest rates of unemployment, 28.3%, a high rural poverty rate of 27%, and a very low per capita income of $8,858, suggesting that Wilberforce's residents had a poor quality of life (depending on the cost of living) and a slightly above average percent of high school graduates. Furthermore, a perennial problem in most African American communities is the underrepresentation of African Americans in National Parks.

Project Overview

The DOI/VISTA focuses their attention on minority populations in urban areas such as Dayton, OH and underserved groups in rural communities like Wilberforce, OH with a particular focus on youth. The Leadership Academy, through a series of training and development, will engage youth through various learning activities using examples of Colonial Charles Young's leadership. The end measurable result will be productive model citizens and successful contributors in society, particularly within their communities. 

Sponsors and Partners

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