Dec. 9, 2021

The Black Blogger "Colonel Charles Young" December 9, 1903 “Standards and Ideals of New Negrodom

Captain Charles Young
“Standards and Ideals of New Negrodom”
December 8, 1903, 

I would like to take it back this morning 118 years to Captain Charles Young addressing campus students at Stanford University. This address was discussing the daily attacks that were being initiated by citizens of this nation against citizens who were also citizens through second class in so many regards of this nation as well. Captain Charles Young's speech was in direct opposition to Booker T. Washington’s philosophy of “casting your buckets where you are.” You see Charles Young had idealized a nation that would recognize excellence and accomplishment no matter one’s race. Ancestor Young was the very first black person to reach the status of an Army officer. So, to him, there should be barriers that forbid anyone, no matter their race from reaching the highest levels of individual, or group achievement. In the midst of the most violent period in race confrontation in this nation, Charles Young told his mostly white audience that in order for this nation to be its best self it had to unlock the chains of oppression that held black accomplishment down. It truly was hard for the United States to let loose of the bonds of racism and segregated hate because a wide swath of our nation’s inhabitants truly believed that the only way this nation would fulfill its promise was through the hearts and minds of white people. As you listen to this speech read by The Blackman Who Reads Aloud understand that it occurred only 38 years after the passage of the 13th Amendment and only 26 years after the end of that brief moment in the sun our ancestors felt during Black Reconstruction. I’m sure that Captain Young would be dismayed that 118 years after he approached the podium in Stanford University in Palo Alto, California that the issue of race would still resonant as a dividing line between blacks and whites in this nation. You see we cast our buckets as Booker T. Washington asked our ancestors to do. Only to have those buckets fill with the slime and stain of bigotry, hatred, racial oppression by a nation whose love of whiteness overrode any sense of justice. If only… this nation could, would … comprehend the past and look towards a better more righteous tomorrow.

Colonel Young’s remains are buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in recognition of his honorable service to a nation that didn't honor those of his color.