A Road to the National Parks A Black soldier served an important role in the development of America’s parks

Charles Young

Charles Young had a distinguished career of service to his country. Born in 1864, in 1889 he became the third Black to graduate from West Point. A member of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, he rose to the rank of captain by 1900. In 1903, he became the acting superintendent of Sequoia and General Grant national parks—the first Black to assume such a position. Among his accomplishments: improved roads into the parks that increased visitation (and thus revenue). Young also successfully recommended that Congress acquire additional land around the parks for future expansion.

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