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Contagions of EmpireScientific Racism, Sexuality, and Black Military Workers Abroad, 1898-1948$
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Khary Oronde Polk

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655505

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655505.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

Charles Young in Five Acts

Charles Young in Five Acts

Patriots, Traitors, and the Performance of American Militarism

Chapter:
(p.77) Chapter Three Charles Young in Five Acts
Source:
Contagions of Empire
Author(s):

Khary Oronde Polk

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655505.003.0004

This chapter considers the life and work of Charles Young, the third African American officer to graduate from West Point, and the first to reach the rank of colonel. Through his quest for leadership in the U.S. Army and performances of martial valor, Young strove to prove by his own example that black people could—if given a chance—excel as officers in the U.S. military. Though committed to American military imperialism, Young became frustrated by the forms of racial discrimination that impeded his progress up the army chain of command. In 1906 he began to channel his critique of American militarism into a play he wrote about the Haitian Revolution and his idol, Toussaint Louverture. Never published during Young’s lifetime, the five-act drama is examined as an allegory of antiblack racism, prophetic memoir (Young chose exile in Africa rather than submit to racist rule in the United States), as well as the most pronounced articulation of the emergent Pan-African political awakening of America’s first black military imperialist of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   Young, U.S. Army, West Point, imperialism, militarism, performance, Toussaint Louverture, Haitian Revolution, Africa, exile

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