The cabin doesn’t look like much. Tucked into a stand of trees and covered in vines, its log walls and stone chimney slightly off-kilter, the neglected building has sat empty for years. But its humble appearance belies a big slice of history: In 1864 it served as the birthplace of Charles Young, an African-American colonel who fought discrimination to build a remarkable military career.
Young, who was born to enslaved parents but grew up free after his family escaped to Ohio and his father served in the Civil War, was just the third African-American to graduate from West Point in 1889. His accomplishments include a stint as a professor in the military sciences department at Wilberforce College in Ohio (where he befriended colleague W.E.B. Du Bois) and service as a member of the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
“I went to West Virginia to work in de coal mines. I made eight dollars and one penny er day er drivin’ er mule in dem mines. Later on, I made ten er twelve dollars er day loading coal. ‘At wus hard work but de more you worked de more money you made. Awe, I […]
“The architectural landscape of Tennessee’s rural areas, small towns, and large cities is comprised of hundreds of historic buildings designed and built by African Americans. “One rural county in East Tennessee has an extraordinary history of African-American builders. Established in 1794 along the North Carolina border, Sevier County has never featured a large black population; […]
The following is an excerpt from an unrehearsed taped interview with Mrs. Leora Rhodes Brooks Franklin (b. 1920), long time resident of Richmond, KY. The interview was conducted by A.G. Dunston, Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Kentucky University, for the Oral History Center of EKU. Professor Dunston spent several years interviewing the black community […]
In early days for some strange reason, the little town of Keystone, WV sported one of the biggest red light districts [Cinder Bottom] in existence. On payday Saturday nights, men, young and old, came from far and near to pay their respect to the “ladies,” and for other sports such as drinking and gambling. Big […]