Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Located on the edge D.C.'s Black Broadway--the U Street Corridor--and not far from the Shaw District* is a memorial to the men of African descent who served as soldiers in colored regiments during the American Civil War. The African American Civil War Memorial commemorates the more than 180,000 ex-slaves and freedmen who joined to fight with the Union.
Designed by Ed Hamilton, this three-part statue titled "The Spirit of Freedom" depicts African American soldiers and sailors preparing to depart for war, and women and children and elders gathering together in solidarity and strength. The statue sits in a granite-paved circular plaza surrounded on three sides by the Wall of Honor. The statue is "the first major art piece by a black sculptor to be placed on federal land anywhere in the District of Columbia." This year is the memorial's 10th anniversary. It, and an adjacent museum, opened to the public on July 18, 1998.
* Named for Robert Gould Shaw who famously led the all-colored Massachusetts 54th in an assault on Fort Wagner, SC, that is memorialized in the motion picture Glory.
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 6/08