FRANKFORT, Ky. (WEHT) – Black History Month began Monday and Gov. Beshear sent a letter to President Biden encouraging him to posthumously promote Col. Charles Young to the honorary rank of Major General in the U.S. Army.
Last year, as commander in chief of the Kentucky National Guard, Beshear posthumously promoted Young to the honorary rank of Brigadier General in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Currently Kentucky recognizes the promotion, however a promotion by the president would be a national recognition.
Young was born in Mays Lick, Ky. in 1864, he valued education throughout his life, graduating with honors in Ohio, where his parents escaped slavery.
Young taught elementary school, then entered the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., he was the academy’s third Black graduate. Young became the first Black military attaché to a foreign country and served in various assignments in Haiti, Liberia, Mexico and Nigeria. Young was medically discharged from active duty, ending his career as the highest-ranking Black officer in the military, Colonel.
Following his death, Young was given full military honors as he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
More information about the life of Col. Charles Young is available on the National Park Service website.
(This story was originally posted on February 1, 2021.)