Brian G. Shellum


Upcoming Events

I am working with Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi on an exciting Charles Young quilt project. Dr. Mazloomi is the director of the Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN) and thirty of her artists are creating quilts that tell the story of Charles Young. My job was to write thirty short stories accompanied by photos that convey the important events or aspects of Young’s life. The artists then create the quilts. It will bring the story of Charles Young to a new audience in an exciting new media. I saw a display by the WCQN last summer that portrayed the life of Nelson Mandela of South Africa. The show was at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio, where the Charles Young quilts will appear next year. Can't wait to see the results!

Past Events

I presented a paper titled 'Buffalo Solders in Africa: African American Officers in Liberia, 1910-1942" at the Society for Military History Conference in Jacksonville, Florida on April 1, 2017. Other members of the War and Society in West Africa panel included Roy Doron, Tim Stapelton, Jacqueline Woodfolk, and Bruce Vandervort.

The Kentucky Educational TV (KET) Kentucky Life segment that covered the life of Charles Young aired Saturday, 11 February. It's seven minutes long and a fascinating. I spent a great deal of time with the producer, Frank Simkonis, in Wilberforce and at Arlington shooting footage for the show. They made him cut the segment down to bare bones, but he got a commitment to do a longer show later in the year.

At the Fifth Regiment Armory Museum
I spoke about Charles Young and Baltimore native Richard Newton at the monthly meeting of the Maryland Military Historical Society at the beautiful Fifth Regiment Armory in downtown Baltimore, Maryland on November 20, 2016.

I spoke at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture as a panel member at its very first military history symposium titled: "Double Victory: The African American Military Experience." The panel was titled: "Remembering World War I" and I talked about the legacy of Colonel Charles Young and his impact on a generation of African American officers. The panel took place November 11, 2016, from 2 to 5 PM, at the Oprah Winfrey Theater, National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

Trooper William Decatur
I was the guest speaker at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Baltimore Chapter of the Ninth and Tenth (Horse) Cavalry Association on September 24, 2016. I had the honor of sitting next to 97-year old Trooper William Decatur, one of the few surviving members of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers. After he was drafted into army in 1941, his first assignment was Troop F, 10th Cavalry at Fort Myer, Virginia, where he was responsible for training and caring for the horses used in funerals and ceremonies.

Bob Stanton, former Director of he National Park Service, welcoming guests.
On September 15, 2016, I was invited to attended the National Signing Ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Park Service and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity on support to the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument and the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site. Great news on a wonderful new partnership!

Interviewing for KET
In early August 2016, I spent two days with Frank Simkonis of Kentucky Educational TV in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he gathered information, took footage, and conducted interviews for an segment on Charles Young that will appear in February 2017 on the program "Kentucky Life." Charles Young was born in Mays Lick, Kentucky on March 12, 1864. At the age of six months, he escaped with his enslaved mother and father north to freedom in Ohio.

Frank Simkonis shooting footage at Arlington
On July 22, 2016 I assisted Frank Simkonis of Kentucky Educational TV who was taking camera footage of Arlington National Cemetery for a segment of "Kentucky Life" on Charles Young that will appear in February 2017. Frank shot images of Charles Young's grave and the Arlington Amphitheater, where a ceremony was held on June 1, 1923 before his interment.

Reenactor portraying Ada Young at Sequoia
I have had the pleasure of mentoring several students and actors who have reenacted the characters of Charles and Ada Young. Last year a student named Timothy Brown, an MFA acting candidate at SMU, worked with me on his project dealing with the life of Charles Young. I advised and provided him with letters, speeches, and photos of Young to guide his project. Tara Hostnik, the Sequoia Field Institute Manager, asked me last year to help Kayla Edwards in developing a living history character portraying Ada Young, the wife of Charles Young. And finally this year I have mentored an actor named Brandon Richards at Sequoia National park portraying the character of Charles Young. This is fascinating work and helps inform a new generation about the life and accomplishments of Charles and Ada Young.

Talking to third graders during Black History Month
I had a real fun time talking to the Hollin Meadows Elementary Third Grade in Alexandria, Virginia on February 19, 2016 about Charles Young, the Buffalo Soldiers, and writing non-fiction. They were more attentive and asked better questions than I get from many adult audiences!

I participated in a panel discussion and talked about Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History annual conference September 23-27, 2015 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. The panel was titled "Partnering With the National Park Service to Interpret Charles Young and Other Iconic Figures of Ohio the Freedom State." Other panel members include Dr. Joy Kinard, Superintendent of the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument; Dr. Charles Wash, Director of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center; Robert Parker, Superintendent of the Harriet Tubman Underground National Monument; and Jewel Haskins, Paul Laurence Dunbar National Historic Site.

Stevenson Cemetery
On June 6, 2015, Floyd Thomas and I visited the Stevenson Cemetery in Greene County, Ohio and found the grave of Laura Smith. Laura Smith was a formerly enslaved woman who with her children were manumitted by their owner after he brought them to Ohio from Mississippi. Laura Smith owned the residence near Wilberforce that was purchased by Charles Young in 1907 and is now the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. Dr. Floyd Thomas is the curator emeritus of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center.

Archives Research
On June 5, 2015, after the Friends meeting of the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, I spent some time in the archives with Renotta Young, Floyd Thomas, interns John Vinson and Marcus Pearl, and volunteer Shelley Smith. The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center has the most complete and comprehensive Charles Young Collection in the country. Dr. Floyd Thomas is the curator emeritus of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center and Renotta Young is a relative of Charles Young. John Vinson, Marcus Pearl, and Shelley Smith all do research with the Charles Young Collection.

Friends of Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
I traveled to Wilberforce, Ohio on June 5, 2015 to participate in a workshop at the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument held by Superintendent Dr. Joy Kindard to plan for the future operations of one of the countries newest additions to the National Park System. The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument works closely with the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center which has offices and an archive in the historic Wilberforce Carnegie Library built in 1907.

Sequoia National Park
My wife and I visited Sequoia National Park the first week in May 2015. I had been to Sequoia for short visits in 2003 for the re-dedication of the Booker T. Washington Tree and in 2004 for the dedication ceremony for the Colonel Young Tree. It was fun to spend five days hiking in the Giant Forest and good to visit the Colonel Young Tree again. I also had the opportunity to talk to twenty park rangers at the Sequoia National Park Headquarters at the Foothills Conference Center on Friday May 8, 2015. During the lunch-time brown bag series, I discussed Charles Young, the Buffalo Soldiers, and their eventful summer at Sequoia in 1903.

Alan Spears and I flank Mexican-American War re-enactors from Palo Alto National Battlefield
I took part in a panel on Saturday April 25, 2015 as part of the Earth Day Texas 2015 celebration in Dallas. The National Park System is kicking off its Centennial Year in 2016, and Suzanne Dixon (NPCA Texas Regional Director), Alan Spears (NPCA Historian), and I discussed the heritage of the National Parks, the incredible resources they provide in Texas, and the park system’s bright future. I talked about Charles Young, the Buffalo Soldiers, and their connection to the National Parks.

New 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 by the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument and the National Afro American Museum and Cultural Center.

I spoke to a Black History Month audience at the Defense Intelligence Agency on February 24, 2015 about the the research I am doing on my third book concerning the service of seventeen African American officers in Liberia from 1910 to 1930. Three of those men, Charles Young, Benjamin O. Davis, and John E. Green served as military attachés and the other fourteen reorganized, trained, and led the Liberian Frontier Force.

The Presidio Trust invited me to present the annual Redmond Kernan History Lecture on November 20, 2014 to an overflow crowd at the historic Presidio Officers Club in San Francisco, California. Title of the presentation was "Captain Charles Young and the Ninth Cavalry at the Presidio: Buffalo Soldiers at the City by the Bay, 1902-1904."

Signing books and talking to participants at the November 20, 2014 lecture discussing the life and times of Captain Charles Young and the Ninth Cavalry during their permanent stationing at the Presidio of San Francisco from 1902-1904.

Speakers and dignitaries in front of the Charles Young birth cabin on September 28, 2014.
I stand at the far left with committee members responsible for restoring the cabin, Kentucky officials, and other dignitaries who spoke at the ceremony. The cabin dates from 1792 and served as slave quarters when Charles Young was born there on March 12, 1864. The committee bought the property, restored the cabin, and is currently doing a feasibility study to see how best to preserve this historic residence for future generations.

I spoke and did a book signing at the May 10, 2014 dedication of the historic marker at the Charles Young Buffalo Soldier National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio. This event coincided with the 130th anniversary of Young's acceptance of his nomination to West Point in 1884.

Keynote address at the Sesquicentennial Celebration of Charles Young on March 12, 2014

I was the keynote speaker at the Charles Young 150th Birthday Celebration at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center sponsored by the National Park Service and the staff of the Charles Young Buffalo Soldier National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio on March 12, 2014. The new Acting Superintendent, Robert Parker, did a superb job organizing the event.

I took part in a Foundation Workshop to plan the future of the Charles Young Buffalo Soldier National Monument from July 8 to July 11, 2013. The meetings involved both the public and stakeholders and National Park Service members from across the country attended. For any details on planning for the park, contact Dr. Reggie Tiller, Superintendent (513.684.3262/​Office; reggie_tiller@​​e-mail).

There was a wonderful wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery honoring the 90th anniversary of the interment of Colonel Charles Young on June 5, 2013. The ceremony was sponsored by the National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Book signing at the Ninth Fort Robinson History Conference on April 27, 2013

Dedication of a historical marker with the Upsilon Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi on April 6, 2013

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

With classmates at a signing at the Cadet Book Store at West Point in April 2010

Book signing at the John Parker House in Ripley, Ohio in March 2010

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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