Whether you're visiting the park during an open house date, a scheduled tour date or just visiting the grounds while passing through, there are plenty of options to complement your visit to the park in the Wilberforce area. Scroll down to see a few of the area highlights that are sure to intrigue and please everyone!
National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center
Situated about a ten-minute drive to the east of the park on Central State University's campus sits the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center (NAAMCC). There you can find current exhibits and cultural and historical information on African-American history from African origins to present-day. The NAAMCC shares the history, art, and culture of the African-American experience and also serves as a gathering place for the community. Additionally, if you cannot make it to the museum in person, the NAAMCC offers an online digital collection of various photos and historical documents, including pictures and letters concerning Colonel Charles Young.
Located just a few minutes to the east of the park site is the nation's oldest, private Historically Black University, Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Founded in 1856, Wilberforce University (WU) was founded to provide an intellectual Mecca and refuge from slavery's first rule: ignorance. (WU history). The university was named in honor of one of the most well-known abolitionists in history, William Wilberforce of England. While the Civil War raged in the 1860's, Wilberforce University suffered and would close its doors in 1862 due to falling enrollment. In March of 1863 though, it re-opened when the African Methodist Episcopal Church purchased the property and then newly incorporated in 1863. Since then, Wilberforce University has operated as the nation's oldest, private Historically Black University. In 1887, the state of Ohio began providing funds to the university for a combined Normal and Industrial department. This branch of Wilberforce would eventually split from WU and become Central State University, the sister university to Wilberforce University.
In 1894, Charles Young reported to the university as the instructor for Military Sciences courses. While at Wilberforce University, Young would forge lifelong friendships with those in the community and with those he worked with, namely W.E.B. DuBois. Because of his fondness for the area and the university, Young would make Wilberforce, Ohio his permanent residence and to raise a family despite constantly traveling the globe for his military duties.
Prospective students can learn more online about enrollment and other general information.
Central State University
Also situated just down the road from the park lies the main campus of Central State University. Central State University (CSU) is Ohio's only public Historically Black University. Founded in 1887, CSU began as a part of its parent-institution, Wilberforce University. Known as a combined Normal and Industrial Depart of Wilberforce University, the department had a separate board of trustees. In 1941, the Ohio General Assembly changed the name to the College of Education and Industrial Arts when it began offering four-year college degrees. In 1947, the university legally separated from Wilberforce University to become the College of Education and Industrial Arts at Wilberforce. In 1951 the college change its name once again to Central State College and then in 1965, the institution achieved University status and became known as Central State University. (CSU history).
Prospective students can learn more online and visit the campus for tours as well. CSU's enrollment is 2,036 for the 2014 academic year.
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Located about 18 miles west of the park (about a thirty minute drive) is the world-renowned National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The museum sits on the property of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Visitors to the museum will find the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the entire world. Aircraft of all shapes and sizes are on display along with special exhibits and events throughout the year. The museum has varied hours of operation. There is free admission to the museum but there is a charge for access to flight simulators and 3D theater. Please visit the museum's website for more details on admission requirements and other visitor services.
Last updated: January 16, 2018