The Charles Young Park and Community Center
Both the Charles Young Park and its community center were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. In 1930 the city of Lexington purchased the lot that would become the second public park to honor African Americans. The park was named the Charles Young Park, after the third African American graduate of West Point. Born in 1864, Young died in 1922 during detail in Nigeria. He was the highest ranked African American who served in the segregated United States Army.
Young was from Mayslick, Kentucky. His father escaped slavery to join the United States Colored Troops of Ripley, Ohio. Young was the first Black man to graduate from the white high school in Ripley, Ohio. Charles Young completed his education and taught at the Black high school in Ripley before obtaining the second highest score on the examination for West Point. He served as Acting Superintendent in the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks and spoke six languages.
The park is 2.6 acres and bounded by public roads on each side. The community center, opened in 1935, was the first in Lexington for African Americans. Over the past 85 years, the Young Center has retained the majority of its architectural integrity in the Colonial Revival architectural classification with only minor changes or updates. Note the cut-stone quoins on the exterior corners of the building and elliptical fanlight over the door, as well as the round window over the projection pediment surrounding the door. The park’s community center was renovated in 2012.
Please follow this link to an article from The National Trust for Historic Preservation to read about efforts to save the Charles Young birthplace in Mayslick, Kentucky.
Follow this link for a ten-minute documentary on the life of Colonel Charles Young, produced by the National Park Service.
And finally, follow this link to the National Register of Historic Places listing.