“Champions” features current and historic figures who can inspire the struggle for a worker – and climate – safe world.

Charles Young was born into slavery in Kentucky on March 12, 1864. Through the legacy of his father, who had escaped slavery to join the Union Army during the Civil War, Young attended West Point Military Academy, becoming the third black American to graduate from West Point. He became the first Black colonel in the United States Army.

Young became the first black National Parks Superintendent, with environmental preservation at the forefront of his life’s work. He was best known for his role in the construction of California’s Sequoia National Park. As Superintendent, he fought for preservation of the sequoias. He commanded a group of park rangers that became known as the “Buffalo Soldiers.”  They kept the park free from poachers and ranchers whose grazing sheep destroyed the park’s natural habitats.

In 2013, Young was recognized as a true American hero, when President Barack Obama used the Antiquities Act to designate Young’s house as the 401st unit of the National Park System, the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument.

To learn more: https://sustainability.uconn.edu/2018/03/27/4-black-environmentalists-who-changed-the-environmental-movement/