Mayor Fischer, Louisville Parks and Recreation announce park rededication following Charles D. Young’s posthumous promotion

June 18, 2022

Mayor Greg Fischer was joined Saturday by members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Louisville Buffalo Soldiers and U.S. Marine Corps to rededicate a west Louisville park in honor of Brigadier General Charles D. Young.

The small park on Lytle Street in the Portland neighborhood, less than an acre in size, was named in the 1950s for Young, a native of Mays Lick, Ky., and the third African-American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The park is the site of a former African-American elementary school that opened in 1876 as the Portland Colored School and renamed Charles Young School during the 1925-26 school year. The school closed after the 1955-56 school year and was demolished, making way for the park soon after.

The park is being renamed following Young’s recent posthumous promotion to Brigadier General by President Biden and the U.S. Department of Defense. In February 2020, Governor Beshear promoted Young to the rank of Brigadier General within the Kentucky National Guard.

“A great deal of gratitude is owed to both Governor Beshear and President Biden for giving Young the recognition he earned,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Although Young’s promotion was long-overdue, we hope that this honorary designation will allow all Americans to learn about the life of this remarkable Kentuckian – this remarkable American – who broke barriers during World War I and was a civil rights pioneer.”

Young, who was born to ex-slaves in 1864 and moved to Ohio shortly afterward, was the highest-ranking African-American officer during World War I.

He served and commanded soldiers during several different assignments throughout his career, including in the Philippines and Mexico, as well as Buffalo Soldier cavalries in Nebraska and Utah.

In 1903, he was appointed acting superintendent of Sequoia and General Grant National Parks in California, becoming the first African-American superintendent of a national park.

In 1904, he became the first African-American military attaché when he was assigned in Haiti.

In addition, in 1916, Young was the second winner of the Springarn Medal, an annual honor given by the NAACP.

In 1919, Young was reassigned as military attaché to Liberia. He died of a kidney infection while on duty in Nigeria in 1922. He became only the fourth solider honored at the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater before being buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.

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ABOUT LOUISVILLE PARKS AND RECREATION 
Louisville Parks and Recreation, a nationally accredited parks and recreation agency, manages 120 parks and six parkways on more than 13,000 acres of land and operates recreation programs for area residents of all ages and abilities. Since taking office in 2011, Mayor Greg Fischer has been committed to ensuring equity in parks and recreation, including the start of the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Initiative, the Louisville’s Engaging Children Outdoors (ECHO) programming and most recently, becoming the third city in the country to launch an equity review of all Metro-owned parks and facilities. bestparksever.com

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