Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial Rededicated After Renovation Project

The family of one of the soldiers who served in the 54th regiment.Photo: Harvey Qualls Harris Family Archive

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A memorial honoring the service of Massachusetts' first Black army regiment has now been rededicated after it was restored thanks to a renovation project.

The memorial, which stands on the edge of the Boston Common directly across from the Massachusetts State House, honors Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, who fought for the Union during the American Civil War. They are famous for being the second African-American regiment to fight in the Civil War and are remembered often for their bravery during the second battle of Fort Wagner.

The memorial was rededicated after a $3 million dollar renovation project that lasted three years and made improvements to the memorial's mural and base. The rededication ceremony included a procession by the reenactors dressed as the 54th regiment and featured speeches from Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

During her speech, Mayor Wu said the memorial is important because it shows what it looks like to take a stand against injustice.

"This memorial is an important reminder that the work of justice cannot and must not fall only upon those who suffer most directly under injustices," Mayor Wu said.

Some of those in attendance at the rededication ceremony were in fact descendants of the men who served in the 54th Regiment. WBZ's Karyn Regal spoke with Felicia Harris, whose third great-grandfather was a member of the regiment.

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"They were a part of freeing their own people," she said. "They were part of fulfilling America's promise of freedom, equality, and one nation under God."

Everett Butcher, a veteran from Pennsylvania, attended the event because he also had several relatives who fought in the 54th regiment.

"Know we understand what the sacrifices were and what our families went through," he said.

WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports.

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