These are images of an inspiring sculpture titled the “Shaw Memorial” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
“Commissioned from the celebrated American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in the early 1880s and dedicated as a monument in 1897, the Shaw Memorial has been acclaimed as the greatest American sculpture of the 19th century. The memorial commemorates the valiant efforts of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the men of the 54th Massachusetts, the first Civil War regiment of African Americans enlisted in the North.
The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was raised shortly after Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Recruits came from many states, encouraged by such African American leaders as the great orator Frederick Douglass, whose own sons joined the 54th. The unit was commanded by 25-year-old Robert Gould Shaw, the Harvard-educated son of dedicated white abolitionists.
On the evening of July 18, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts led the assault upon the nearly impenetrable earthworks of Fort Wagner, which guarded access to the port of Charleston, South Carolina. Shaw, at the front of the charge, was one of the first to die. Of the approximately 600 men of the 54th who participated, nearly 300 were captured, declared missing, or died from wounds they received that day. The steadfastness and bravery of the 54th were widely reported, providing a powerful rallying point for African Americans who had longed for the chance to fight for the emancipation of their race. By the end of the war, African Americans composed 10 percent of the Union forces, contributing crucial manpower to the final victory of the North.” ~National Gallery of Art
The 19th century farm buildings shown below are in Franklin, Tennessee. They’re part of the Carter House civil war memorial, a National Historical Monument. The bullet holes below were made during the Civil War.
Some folks say that the south lost slavery but won the propaganda war. I would agree that we’re still engaged in this battle of world views.
Like many countries around the globe, Americans continue to struggle with our historical challenges. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served by offering an example of how to overcome our demons with love. He showed us that it’s possible to defeat our heritage of racism.