Treatment On Base
Several Service Engineer Battalions, including African American enlisted personnel, were stationed at Camp A.A. Humphreys in Fort Belvoir during World War I. In April 1918, the first black soldiers arrived at Camp A.A. Humphreys. According to Fort Belvoir Housing History, after the conclusion of World War I, military authorities were polite to black soldiers. Between 1931 and 1940, the number of blacks in the Regular Army made up less than 4,000 of the total 118,000, as vacancies and promotions became extremely rare in most of the segregated units (“Segregation — Fort Belvoir Housing History”).
Youngs Village, built at Fort Belvoir in the 1940s, (located on Meeres Road and State Route 618) as a temporary residence for African Americans in response to the housing shortage brought on by World War II, symbolized a period when the nation's troops and their families were segregated based on race. Because it was destroyed in the 1960s, we don't know much about how it looked. A 1956 newspaper article described the buildings as "frame-built bungalow-type houses."
Col. Charles Young, an African American officer who had a distinguished military career in the early 20th century, was born in Mayslick, Kentucky, in 1864 to former slaves. He was the third African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1889 and earn a commission. His first assignments were with the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalries. During the Spanish-American War, Young was in command of a division. Youngs Village was named in his honor (“Youngs Village — Fort Belvoir Housing History”).