Brian G. Shellum

Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment: The Military Career of Charles Young

"Shellum's book is a welcome addition to recent studies of the black military experience. . . . This is an enjoyable, commanding, and well researched work." —Bruce A. Glasrud, Journal of American History

"Brian Shellum is to be congratulated for providing a first rate biography of a proud and competent officer serving during a difficult period of his country's history. "—Thomas R. Buecker, Nebraska History

"Brian Shellum has filled an important void in African American biography and American military history."—Ronald G. Coleman, Utah Historical Quarterly

"A valuable read for anyone with an interest in the final years of the frontier Army, American imperialism, African-Americans in military service, and American military history in general."—A.A. Nofi, Strategypage.com

"This is a solid study of an important figure in American history. It is easy to recommend to those with an interest in military affairs, biography, and the African American experience."—Claude Clegg, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“During a long and distinguished career, Charles Young succeeded in spite of the Jim Crow prejudices permeating the American military of his time. His is a remarkable and inspiring story, though often overlooked. In this well-researched book, Brian Shellum finally gives Young the historical attention he deserves.”—Dayton Duncan, author of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea

“With quiet dignity and determination, Charles Young skillfully negotiated incredible obstacles to reach the rank of colonel. Brian G. Shellum has succeeded in capturing Young’s courage and the shameful milieu of America’s Jim Crow army.”—Gregory J. W. Urwin, professor of history at Temple University and editor of Black Flag over Dixie: Racial Atrocities and Reprisals in the Civil War

“Extensively researched and clearly written, Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment places Charles Young back where he belongs, among the important figures of African Americans during the Progressive Era. Shellum’s account should be read by anybody interested in understanding how a black Army officer could not only survive, but prosper in the Jim Crow–era military.”—Mark Benbow, former resident historian of the Woodrow Wilson House

“Shellum has written a careful, concise, thoughtful, and easily read volume on the life story of Colonel Charles Young. . . . Using solid research and little-used documentary sources, Shellum brings into sharp focus a man and officer of whom too little is known, and not near enough is remembered. There is enough in Young’s life to fuel a dozen shows on the History Channel and be the subject of a decade of African American Heritage Months.”—William W. Gwaltney, former president of the Association of African American Museums

“Brian Shellum traces the development, experiences, and extraordinary accomplishments of a pioneering black officer who broke through one racial barrier after another in the decades straddling the turn of the twentieth century. The author follows Charles Young on his far-flung adventures with the Buffalo Soldiers on the Great Plains and in Sequoia National Park, leading his troopers in combat in the Philippines and Mexico, and his service in Haiti and Liberia as the first African American military attaché. Shellum places in the context of his times a leader who came to epitomize African American manhood. In so doing the author reveals a true hero to his country and his race.”—Floyd Thomas, curator at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center

"The recently published "Black Officer in a Buffalo Soldier Regiment," concludes Brian Shellum's two-volume biography of the African American military hero, Charles Young. These two volumes have been superbly researched and furnish a much-needed documentation of Young's historically important, little known and remarkable military career.
I noted with interest that four of Young's cadets, when he was posted to Wilberforce University, were South African AME missionary students and that one of them later became a founding member of the ANC. In this I see an interesting parallel between the ANC's Nelson Mandela and Young. They both endured years of racial discrimination and humiliation but emerged without having been consumed by vengeful bitterness.
Since the publication of the second volume of the Young biography, I have asked a number of African American friends, colleagues and acquaintances what they thought of Charles Young. I was surprised to discover that almost none of them knew anything about Young. It is my hope that Brian Shellum's biography will, in time, come to be widely read in America and particularly by members of the African American community."—James W. Rawlings: retired Chairman and CEO of Union Carbide Southern Africa, Inc. and United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe 1986-1989, Amazon Review

"I admire Young's perseverance in the face of such adversity and his ultimate success against the odds. And I applaud Shellum for taking the time to give this Black Officer his long overdue recognition. I hope this book as well as Shellum's Black Cadet in a White Bastion become required reading for all students at the Military Academy."—W. C. Montgomery, Amazon Review

"In so many ways, we've come so far. We've elected someone who Charles Young played a small part in clearing a path for a black man to rise up on. Yet -- just as Young faced discrimination and prejudice in his day -- we still have so far to go.
The book made me think about how things are today. The good and the bad. it makes me happy to see our progress. It makes me sad to see how little there really has been and how more there needs to be.
While quite detailed in its historical research, the author manages to tell a story of a man, time & place that should appeal to non-historians as well."—K. Bonney, Amazon Review

"An excellent book, well written and informative. Brian Shellum tells the story of Charles Young, a true American hero and pioneer. The third African-American graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Young blazed a trail for subsequent generations to follow. Sadly, his life and accomplishments have been overlooked and forgotten in recent times. This book goes far in correcting that injustice."—Axel Krigsman, Amazon Review


Army Historical Foundation's 2010 Distinguished Writing Award, finalist, biography category

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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