Thursday, June 28, 2012

Too Few Monuments

African American Monument
The African American Monument at Vicksburg National Military Park is one of the few tributes to United States Colored Troops in Civil War battlefields and military parks.

The monument at the military park was proposed by Vicksburg Mayor Robert M. Walker in March 1999.  The city contributed $25,000 and the State of Mississippi provided $250,000.  The National Park Service approved the design, text, and site in 2003. The design submitted by Dr. J. Kim Sessums was selected.  The monument was dedicated on February 14, 2004.

"Sacrifice in blood"
The nine-foot tall sculpture depicts three figures.  There are two Union soldiers representing the 1st and 3rd Mississippi Infantry, African Descent, that participated in the Vicksburg campaign, and the third a civilian laborer. The civilian looks to the past and the institution of slavery that he has left behind.  Two of the men support a wounded comrade, who represents the "sacrifice in blood made by African American soldiers on the field of battle."

I hope that during the Sesquicentennial more recognition is given to the 186,000 black men who served in the Union Army.  We need to honor the bravery of these men who waged battles on and off the battlefield to be allowed to wear the Union blue and sacrifice their lives for their freedom.

No comments: