Brian G. Shellum


With Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at the dedication of the Charles Young Buffalo Soldier National Monument on April 2, 2013

I have been researching and writing about the life of Charles Young since I first read of his accomplishments in 1996 while serving as a historian at the Defense Intelligence Agency. I've been hot on his trail since, publishing Black Cadet in a White Bastion: Charles Young at West Point in 2006 and Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young in 2010, both by the University of Nebraska Press. I am currently under contract with the University of Nebraska Press to complete my third book titled A Pestiferous Rotation: African American Officers in Liberia, 1910-1942 and hope to see it published in 2017.

I recently broadened my research and writing with “Buffalo Soldiers on the Western Frontier: 1866-1890” which appears in the Routledge Handbook of U.S. Diplomatic and Military History Since 1865 published in June 2013. I also wrote "Buffalo Soldiers in Africa: African American Officers in Liberia, 1910-1942" for the Routledge History of Race in the American Military published in 2016. In the second half of 2015 I worked on adapting my first two books for a stage play that a group hopes to open in Washington, DC is the next year or two. This is new and exciting territory! I have also had fun mentoring a student at SMU and two interpreters at Sequoia National Park who have reenacted the personas of Charles and Ada Young.

The year 2015 was a very busy and gratifying one for me in terms of opportunities resulting from my research and writing. I spoke about Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers at several venues, celebrated a birthday, participated in a workshop, and visited several national parks.

I discussed the accomplishments of African American officers in Liberia from 1910 to 1942 to a Black History Month audience in February 2015 at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC. National Park Superintendent Dr. Joy Kinard invited me to speak at the celebration of Charles Young's 151st birthday at Wilberforce, Ohio on March 12, 2015, sponsored the the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument and the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. I took part in a panel discussion in April as part of the Earth Day Texas 2015 celebration in Dallas. And in May 2015 I visited the Colonel Charles Young Tree and had the opportunity to talk to about twenty park rangers at Sequoia National Park.

In June 2015 I traveled back to Wilberforce, Ohio to participate in a workshop at the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument held by Superintendent Dr. Joy Kinard. This exciting new addition to our National Park System works closely with the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center which has its offices and an extensive archive collection in the historic Wilberforce Carnegie Library built in 1907. While there I did some research in the archives and assisted volunteers and interns in identifying items in the collection.

Finally, I participated in a panel and discussion about Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History annual conference in September 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.

I look forward to many more adventures riding with Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers!

Selected Works

Military History
Military Career of Charles Young, pointman for his race in the U.S. Army.
The early life and Academy experiences of Charles Young, the third black West Point graduate.
Military Intelligence History
The declassified documents and commentary that trace the establishment of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1961 to 1965.
A concise chronology of the defense intelligence support before and during the First Gulf War from 1990-1991.

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