In the fall of 1903, the Buffalo Soldiers who oversaw these parks that year held an end-of-season picnic. A local resident who attended, Phil Winser, wrote the following about Captain Charles Young, the leader of this contingent and the first African American superintendent of any national park: "They wanted to name a tree for our captain but he refused, saying they could do so if they felt the same way, twenty years hence..." He chose instead to name a sequoia for educator Booker T. Washington, a leader in the African American community up until 1915.
Little did then-Captain Young realize that people would feel the same way almost 100 years later! The third African American to graduate from West Point (1884), Young had gone on to fight oversees; become a colonel; serve as the first military attaché to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and then Liberia; write a book on race and military power; and teach as a professor, among other accomplishments. At a rededication ceremony for the Booker T. Washington Tree in June 2003, the deputy director of the National Park Service, to crowd approval, called on the park to make good on its 100-year-old promise.
The Colonel Young Tree was dedicated in a private ceremony in the summer of 2004. Today, it stands watch over the Booker T. Washington Tree and Moro Rock / Crescent Meadow Road in Sequoia National Park.
To access this area in winter, you will need to hike, snowshoe, or ski into the area.