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Buffalo Soldiers in California: Charles Young and the Ninth Cavalry, 1902-1904

When Captain Charles Young and the Ninth U.S. Cavalry stepped ashore in San Francisco in 1902, Young was only one of three Black officers serving in the U.S. Army. He had graduated from West Point as its third Black graduate, established the first Black officer training program at Wilberforce University, was appointed a major to command an Ohio volunteer battalion during the Spanish-American War, and served as a troop commander during two years of brutal guerrilla warfare in the Philippine-American War.


In Buffalo Soldiers in California, Brian G. Shellum follows the experiences of Captain Young and the Ninth Cavalry in the Golden State, from life at the Presidio and the challenges of army life in a large city to summers patrolling Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks to missions training with the California National Guard. Young's career success depended on the professionalism and dedication of his enlisted men—the backbone of the Buffalo Soldier regiments—and those men delivered. Young and that "rowdy gang of mine," as he called them, were an important part of the history of California and our national parks, as well as the broader history of the United States.