Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spirit of Freedom and Other Monuments to US Colored Troops

This video tells the story of the Spirit of Freedom - the National Monument Honoring Black Civil War Soldiers

I attended the dedication of that monument in the summer of 1998 and was honored to witness the outpour of support from descendants of those 209,000 men whose names are inscribed on that monument as well. 

The following summer, I got to see another monument honoring black Civil War soldiers. I was attending a Civil War re-enactment of the Honey Springs Battle in Rentiesville Oklahoma and was delighted to see that among the monuments erected honoring the soldiers in that battle--the 1st Kansas Colored were depicted among those who fought nobly in that battle.

Of course, I have often pointed out that many who research the history of the US Colored Troops will frequently encounter other African Americans who have no knowledge of the ties that their own families have to the thousands of Black soldiers who fought and died for their freedom. In a recent discussion about this, it was mentioned again, that this occurs possibly because there are so few images or monuments devoted to the contribution made by more than 200,000 African Americans who served in the War.

Ironically in most southern towns somewhere in or near the town square is a monument devoted to confederate dead, and ironically there are so few monuments to the Black men who lived in the same communities who fought for their freedom.

Although there are less than two dozen, the list slowly growing. I did find a site devoted to Black Civil War monuments, and have written to have the inclusion of the Honey Springs battlefield monument to the 1st Kansas Colored (that later became the 79th US Colored Infantry), however, the change has yet to be made to reflect that monument.

Yet, the site deserves to be visited, again, because so few of us are aware of these soldiers and of their history. I am including a list of the monuments that are mentioned on the Jubilo site, with a link to the sites that contain more information about the monuments honoring these soldiers.

Connecticut 29th  Colored Regiment - Fair Haven Connecticut

North Carolina Colored Union Soldiers - Hertford North Carolina

USCT National Cemetery Monument - Nashville Tennessee

West Point Monument - Norfolk Virginia

As happy as I am to see these monuments---there are so many more untold stories. Perhaps when and if they are constructed, in the future we may see monuments honoring the fallen men as well, for their price was the ultimate price for freedom. Their bravery is still unsung.

Let us not forget to 

And as I have an ancestors who was ambushed in battle, I hope someday in central Arkansas that some will also Remember Jenkin's Ferry.

All brave men deserve to be so honored and remembered.

No comments:

Post a Comment