Last updated: June 2, 2021
Booker T. Washington Tree
Audio Description, Scenic View/Photo Spot
A giant sequoia dedicated to the memory of Booker T. Washington-a leader in the African-American community during the late 18th and early 19th centuries-stands before you.
Colonel Charles Young-a commissioned officer in the US Army who served as the first superintendent of Sequoia National Park, dedicated this tree in honor of a man he deeply admired. Deployed to protect the park in the summer of 1903, Charles Young and his men travelled by horseback from the Presidio in San Francisco to Sequoia National Park, reaching their destination 16 days later. Assigned to extend a wagon road leading into the park, Young and his men made steady progress, meeting the goal of extending the road into the Giant Forest.
The African-American army company working on the road were known as â€˜Buffalo Soldiers'. The citizens of nearby Visalia were so impressed with their work, they insisted that one of the giant trees be named in Captain Young's honor. Young declined, asserting that 2,000-year-old living trees should not be diminished by attaching any human's name. He acquiesced when it was agreed upon that the person honored would be Booker T. Washington.
The significance of this Giant Sequoia tree was forgotten over time. After nearly 100 years, this tree has been rediscovered, and in 2003-on the hundredth year anniversary of the tree's dedication-a rededication ceremony was performed to honor Charles Young and Booker T. Washington. A sequoia has been named for Charles Young and is nearby.