Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment


Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment

The Military Career of Charles Young

Brian G. Shellum

412 pages


February 2010


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

February 2010


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

February 2010


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

An unheralded military hero, Charles Young (1864–1922) was the third black graduate of West Point, the first African American national park superintendent, the first black U.S. military attaché, the first African American officer to command a Regular Army regiment, and the highest-ranking black officer in the Regular Army until his death. Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment tells the story of the man who—willingly or not—served as a standard-bearer for his race in the officer corps for nearly thirty years, and who, if not for racial prejudice, would have become the first African American general.
Brian G. Shellum describes how, during his remarkable army career, Young was shuffled among the few assignments deemed suitable for a black officer in a white man’s army—the Buffalo Soldier regiments, an African American college, and diplomatic posts in black republics such as Liberia. Nonetheless, he used his experience to establish himself as an exceptional cavalry officer. He was a colonel on the eve of the United States’ entry into World War I, when serious medical problems and racial intolerance denied him command and ended his career. Shellum’s book seeks to restore a hero to the ranks of military history; at the same time, it informs our understanding of the role of race in the history of the American military.

Author Bio

Brian G. Shellum is a senior intelligence analyst with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization with the U.S. Department of Defense. He is the author of Black Cadet in a White Bastion: Charles Young at West Point, available in a Bison Books edition.


“During a long and distinguished career—from being the first African-American captain in the regular army and first to be in charge of a national park, to serving in the Phillipines, chasing Pancho Villa in Mexico, and representing the United States in Liberia—Charles Young succeeded in spite of the Jim Crow prejudices permeating the American military of his time. His is a remarkable and inspiring story, though often overlooked. In this well-researched book, Brian Shellum finally gives Young the historical attention he deserves.”—Dayton Duncan, author of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea

" A valuable read for anyone with an interest in the final years of the frontier Army, American imperialism, African-Americans in military service, and American military history in general."—A.A. Nofi,

"Shellum's book is a welcome addition to recent studies of the black military experience. . . . This is an enjoyable, commanding, and well researched work." —Bruce A. Glasrud, Journal of American History

"Brian Shellum is to be congratulated for providing a first rate biography of a proud and competent officer serving during a difficult period of his country's history. "—Thomas R. Buecker, Nebraska History

"Brian Shellum has filled an important void in African American biography and American military history."—Ronald G. Coleman, Utah Historical Quarterly

"This is a solid study of an important figure in American history. It is easy to recommend to those with an interest in military affairs, biography, and the African American experience."—Claude Clegg, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations  




Chapter 1: Awaiting Orders   

Chapter 2: First Posting to Fort Robinson

Chapter 3: New Start at Fort Duchesne    

Chapter 4: Military Instructor at Wilberforce  

Chapter 5: Volunteer Officer in the Spanish-American War   

Chapter 6: Return to Fort Duchesne 

Chapter 7: Fighting Guerillas in the Philippines     

Chapter 8: Troop Commander in San Francisco and Sequoia    

Chapter 9: Military Attaché in Hispaniola

Chapter 10: Garrison Duty in the Philippines and Wyoming   

Chapter 11: Military Assistance Mission in Liberia   

Chapter 12: Chasing Villa in Mexico

Chapter 13: Retirement to Ohio     

Chapter 14: Final Post in Liberia  

Epilogue: Coming Home  






Army Historical Foundation's 2010 Distinguished Writing Award, finalist, biography category

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