FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - More than a hundred people gathered for a black history celebration in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday.
More than a hundred people gathered for a black history celebration in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday. (WKYT)
The event was hosted by the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus.
This year's celebration honored the contributions of African Americans in U.S. military history.
"Blacks were minutemen during the colonial days," said Charles Blatcher III, National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations. "Five thousand black soldiers fought in the Revolutionary War."
One Kentucky native was the center of attention, Colonel Charles Young. Young was the third African American to graduate from West Point military academy in 1889.
He fought in the Philippine-American and Spanish-American wars, and having been promoted to colonel, he was the highest-ranking African American military officer at the time.
Tuesday, Governor Andy Beshear promoted him to Brigadier General. Young's descendants were present and received the award on his behalf.
"Once I inherited the family bible dated back to 1806, and I saw there was a letter in there saying how we were related to Colonel Charles Young, I got cold chills, a man of such dignitary status," said Denise Johnson, a descendant of Brigadier General Charles Young.
Johnson says she's grateful his legacy lives on.
"This is all bringing us together, for one spirit, one reason, for one man," Johnson said.
During the event, Kentucky lawmakers also talked about the importance of diversity.
Plans are also underway to erect a statue of General Young in our nation's Capitol.