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When the United States entered World War I, racial segregation was entrenched in military culture as well as civilian society. Segregation enforced barriers that prevented African Americans from enlisting. Despite this, about 380,000 African Americans served in the U.S. military during the war.
Colonel Charles Young was the highest-ranking African American Army officer in 1918. Despite an impressive leadership record, the Army refused Young’s request to command troops in Europe. Military leaders told him he was not healthy enough to serve.
Colonel Young mounted his horse in Wilberforce on June 6, 1918, and began a difficult 16-day ride to Washington D.C. He rode horseback for 497 miles. Today, if you followed Colonel Young’s route in a car, you would drive for almost eight hours. On horseback, it took Colonel Young two weeks to cross through Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia to get to Washington D.C. Young completed his ride on June 22 when he arrived in the District of Columbia. He was tired and worn but healthy.
This Challenge is to engage everyone in healthy Walking, Jogging, Running, and Cycling. The proceeds from this challenge will fund Scholarships and Programs for Project Friendship.
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