Photo's by Joy Halstead
Another reason I decided to place colored troops in this frame is because of the presence of James B. Young in the foreground. During the Spanish-American war, states were asked to organize regiments of volunteers. When President McKinley called for volunteers in April 1898, African Americans in Wilmington, New Bern, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Asheville quickly organized into companies and offered their services to Governor Daniel L. Russell. Russell had been elected governor in 1896 on a fusion ticket, supported by both Populists and Republicans and with nearly all of the black vote. Recognizing his debt to black voters, Russell agreed to create an all-black volunteer regiment. To command the regiment he commissioned James H. Young, the African American editor of the Raleigh Gazette and a former state representative who had been instrumental in founding a state school for the deaf, dumb, and blind.
One more background to complete.