Photo: Omega Psi Phi fraternity
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has designated five new national monuments, using executive authority to protect historic or ecologically significant sites.
One is the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Col. Charles Young, born to former slaves, was the third African American to graduate from West Point, and the first to be promoted to colonel.
He led African American Army troops on a variety of assignments in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Nebraska, Utah, San Francisco.
He and his troops also served as rangers in Sequoia National Park in California. Since African-American troops were primarily sent to serve in the Plains and the West, they were often called "Buffalo Soldiers."
He also served internationally, in the Philippines, Haiti, Liberia, and Mexico.
After serving with distinction in the US Army, he became a professor of military science, French, and mathematics at Wilberforce University in Ohio.
He also directed the college band and composed and played music for the piano, violin, and guitar.
He and W.E.B. DuBois were co-faculty members and close friends. His home in Wilberforce was maintained by his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, and they donated the site to be named as a monument in his honor.
Read the entire proclamation
Vice President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined Obama Monday in the Oval Office as he signed five proclamations designating the sites under the Antiquities Act.
The ceremony was closed to reporters.
The sites are Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio; and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state.
Biden has long sought the site in Delaware, his home state and the only state without a national park. Designating the 1,100 acre site is the first step toward creating a national park there