Rioters Vandalized Monument to Black Civil War Regiment

The Robert Gould Shaw

Rioters in Boston, claiming to want justice for George Floyd, defaced one of the city’s most well known memorials. The Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial is a bronze sculpture that depicts one of the nation’s first all-black regiments on their way to fight in the Civil War. Many of the men depicted in this artwork sacrificed their lives to free the slaves in the south. They did so knowing that if they were captured, they themselves would be sold into slavery.

The regiment was led by 25-year-old Robert Gould Shaw, the son of two prominent abolitionists, who was killed during their attack on Fort Wagner. In fact, the first black American to ever be awarded the Medal of Honor, Army Sgt. William H. Carney was awarded the prestigious medal for refusing to allow the flag of the United States to fall during this brutal battle. The confederate soldiers believed that by burying Shaw with his soldiers that they would discourage other union officers from leading black troops, but his family’s response inspired the nation during a time of crisis when they stated that there could be “‘no holier place’ to be buried than “surrounded by…brave and devoted soldiers.’”

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