The Blue State Conservative

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An Open Letter to All Americans: Is It Proper to Call Confederate Soldiers ‘Traitors’ and to Tear Down Their Statues?

(Editor’s Note: This open letter by contributor Cade Logue is intended as a further response to the article Another Day, Another Hoax, and Another Black Eye for Our Pathetic MSM which was published by The Blue State Conservative on May 20, 2021.)


Dear Citizens,


Recent events and changing attitudes in this republic has led to an emerging debate into the prospect of changing the names of installations and vessels that bear the names associated with the Confederacy. A commission has been appointed to provide a recommendation to the Secretary of Defense for this very purpose. As one would expect, this has initiated a firestorm of debate on the nature of the civil war. This debate has led many to pontificate as to the causes of the war ranging from slavery, states’ rights, and economic disparities.

I, like many, am prepared to offer my opinion and will eagerly engage in such debates depending of course on the specific charge levied, however, I wish at this time to address the narrowly focused charge that those who fought for the confederacy were traitors. I shall keep my arguments probative to this single claim.    


The word traitor has been used at least twice in articles published my military.com.  These articles included several reasons for the war and none to show how the bases were named, in absence of a direct charge, I can only offer up few points.


I assume that the majority make this argument based upon the claim that these individuals led an armed conflict against their parent country or advocated for secession. If so, then we need to broaden the scope of installations to be reviewed to include most of the founding fathers and every single officer of the Continental Army. They too led an armed insurrection against their parent nation with some having received their military training by serving in the British Army. Of course, that would mean that we should pardon and venerate Benedict Arnold for remaining true to his oath. Using this logic, we should be praising Arnold and condemning Washington.


The charge of treason because of the act of secession is also hollow. There were secession movements in the north over the Louisiana Purchase (1803), Jefferson’s embargo against Great Britain and France in 1807, and the following War of 1812 in which several New England states even refused to provide troops to the federal government. This move towards secession was again renewed with the Annexation of Texas (1848) and having to enforce the infamous Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. In each of these situations, the states in question remained through last minute comprises. Heck, to underscore the north’s hypocrisy of the secession argument, it allowed West Virginia to secede in 1863 and join the union. This right to secede was even confirmed by the Supreme court in 1866.   


Furthermore, it needs to be noted that even in 1860 most of the population still identified more with their state than a central union. During the war, units were often given state identifiers like the 1st Ohio, 3rd Pennsylvania, not just simply 1st inf reg or 3rd Art. I mention this to help reinforce the point that most people, both north and south, were tied to their state, which surely weighed heavily on those that chose to side with the south before the war started. Others had the choice thrust upon them when they woke to an army marching through their farms, or saw their ports closed to shipping through blockades. It was the Union army that first marched an army across state lines to include states that didn’t even secede like Maryland, Kentucky, Kansas and Minnesota.


Just look at the names given to the larger formations, Army of the Cumberland, Army of Ohio, Army of the Potomac. Even today, National Guard units that are loosely affiliated by state don’t bear state names.


It’s crucial to remember that not a single Confederate officer was tried at the end of the war for treason or even sedition, not Robert E. Lee or even Jefferson Davis. And this was when passions still ran quite hot. The only Confederate officer to be formally tried after the war was Henry Wirz, the commander of P.O.W. Camp Sumter (aka Andersonville) and even that was for war crimes, not treason. The professional soldiers that left the Federal army to fight for the Confederacy were giving up everything; a potential career, current standing, and in most cases their homes were either occupied like Lee who was never to return to his, or had them put to the torch by a warfare that included the pillaging and theft of personal property.


The bases, places and things named after Confederate soldiers were named to honor their bravery or military prowess, not in some conspicuous fading hope that the social conventions of the day would be enshrined. That’s why their battlefield exploits continued to be studied worldwide to include our service academies. It is why President Eisenhower kept a picture of Robert Lee by his bed, and he wasn’t alone. Robert E. Lee had been publicly venerated by no less than eight other US presidents: Ford, Carter, Johnson, Truman, Kennedy, both Roosevelts and Reagan, not to mention Booker Washington and Winston Churchill.


This reverence might also have played a role in the decision from May 23, 1958, in which the US Congress approved USC Public Law 85-425, Sec 410, in which Confederate soldiers, sailors, and Marines that fought in the Civil War were made U.S. Veterans in regards to pensions. This law made all Confederate Army/ Navy/ Marine Veterans equal to U.S. Veterans. Let me reiterate: those that fought for the Confederacy are not considered traitors according to AN ACT OF CONGRESS.


I have tried to limit myself to the charge of treason, but since this debate stems mostly from the larger discussion of slavery, I am compelled to address it at least in a small way. I could devote quite a few lines to its place in history but for the purpose of this letter I will keep it short and simple.


If slavery was the cause for the Civil War, then why wasn’t it abolished at the start of hostilities? How hard would it have been to pass when only one southern member remained in Congress? At a minimum, slavery could have been abolished in the states of the union, yet the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed no one, was issued eighteen months after the start of the war and the 14th Amendment was not ratified until July 9, 1868, a whole three years after the north had complete control of south.


                                                                        Sincerely,

                                                                        Cade Logue                                                                                                                                         MSG-Ret     


 Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

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5 thoughts on “An Open Letter to All Americans: Is It Proper to Call Confederate Soldiers ‘Traitors’ and to Tear Down Their Statues?

  1. I wrote the following piece on June 8th 2017:

    Assaulting Our American Heritage / Impugning Confederate Honor

    Monuments honoring heroes of the Confederate States of America, American heroes in fact, are being removed from the public square, due to a successful presentation of oversimplified arguments and lies by the same progressive Leftist Democratic apparatus that seeks to fundamentally transform America. These assaults on the Southern heritage by politically correct propagandists and arrogant activist ideologues are assaults on our American culture and heritage, or “AmeriKKKa” as the Left calls America; and, it is nothing short of a cultural cleansing campaign, a purging of the truth and history and a national disgrace.

    In 2015, the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP called for the destruction of the Stone Mountain Confederate Monument, that honors Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson. They wanted the nearly 2000 square feet and 12 feet deep carving “sandblasted away”.

    In February, the city council of Charlottesville, VA sought to remove Robert E. Lee’s likeness from its 100 year resting place. They have been temporarily blocked by a lawsuit filed by the Monument Fund and 29 other plaintiffs.

    Soon protests arose in Charlottesville and NAACP President Rick Turner told the crowds: “I think a decision must be made to remove the statue by any means necessary.”

    However, the City of New Orleans successfully removed the Battle of Liberty Place obelisk on April 4th and statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard on May 11th and May 17th, consecutively. The statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from New Orlean’s Lee Circle on May 19th, while other efforts are appearing nationwide, in places like Houston and Baltimore.

    Starting in 1784, Thomas Jefferson and many righteous men afterwards attempted to abolish slavery until the end of the Civil War, including former slave owners such as James Madison. It is worth observing that while General Ulysses S. Grant owned one slave and his wife owned four slaves until 1859, General Robert E. Lee never owned any.

    General Beauregard’s statue was taken down in the dark of night and Lee’s was coming down, when New Orlean’s Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) revealed an astounding level of ignorance of history, stating: “They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots. These monuments celebrate a fictional sanitized Confederacy.” Landrieu could not be any more egregiously wrong.

    On December 27th 1856, Robert E. Lee wrote to his wife: “Slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil in any country … a greater evil to the white than to the black race … nearly two thousand years [of Christianity] … and even among the Christian nations what gross errors still exist!”

    Many Confederate generals did not want to secede and neither did Jefferson Davis. More than the issue of slavery that had profited both New England slave traders and Southern plantation owners, the South saw secession as a necessity in the face of the unfair tariffs the North had applied against the South from 1828 to 1832 and beyond. And so, they too pledged their lives, fortune and sacred honor as they seceded from an oppressive federal government to retain their sovereignty, their Constitutional rights and a free government.

    President Abraham Lincoln was not any “Great Emancipator” himself. On August 22nd 1862, he wrote a letter to Horace Greeley, founder and editor of the New York Tribune, who supported a general amnesty for Confederate officials and angered Northeners by signing a bail bond for Jefferson Davis. In part the letter read: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.”

    So why do the Leftist mobs of Antifa and Black Lives Matter castigate, impugn and demonize the character and honor of a noble man such as Robert E. Lee, while giving Ulysses S. Grant a pass?

    General PGT Beauregard was a St Bernard Parrish native and a man of contradictions, who spent most of his non-military life in New Orleans. He fired the first shots in a war to preserve states rights and slavery, and yet in defeat, Beauregard argued passionately for the right of black people to vote.

    So Beauregard is impugned, while a statue of Senator Edward Carmack (D-TN) still stands in Nashville on the south side of Tennessee’s State Capitol Building. Carmack advocated for the repeal of the 15th Amendment, which granted black men the right to vote; he was also the editor of the ‘Nashville Tennessean’ and a coward, who was shot and killed, on Union St. in Nashville, as he hid behind Mrs. Charles Eastman after firing on Duncan Cooper, his nemesis.

    It is nearly impossible to find any truth behind the Left’s assertions, that they are campaigning against the “white supremacy” symbolized by Confederate monuments, when most Confederate soldiers did not own slaves by the time the Civil War was burning hot. To claim that the majority of non-slaveholder soldiers, who fought for the South, could have fought and sacrificed their lives and those of their families, so a minority of wealthy aristocrats could retain the “right” to own slaves is preposterous on any analysis.

    The logic behind these character assassinations make it inescapably clear that the Left will not be satisfied until every white figure who doesn’t pass their “progressive” scrutiny is cleansed from the Southern culture and American culture too. How much truth must be sacrificed to mold history to fit a single strain of a prevailing political ideology?

    Mitch Landrieu and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and many other Democrats, along with some misguided and ill-informed “conservatives” say that these men don’t deserve to be honored. Who does then?

    President McKinley had fought against “Stonewall” Jackson, as a teenager, in the Shenandoah. McKinley was at Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War; and at the start of the Spanish-American War, when Southern volunteers and former Confederate soldiers paraded through Atlanta to fight for a united America, McKinley removed his hat and stood for the singing of ‘Dixie’.

    Nearly half of the fifty-five members of the Constitutional Convention owned slaves or facilitated the slave trade. Is anything associated with Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other Founders now considered to be immoral too?

    Are Americans really going to allow more monuments to be torn down? Are Americans going to sandblast Stone Mountain Confederate Monument and even Mount Rushmore, sandblasting away our American Heritage? I say “NO”.

    Left unrestrained, the radicals of this nation will attempt to purge and destroy every vestige of anything remotely associated with any slaveholder. Our Constitution and even our Declaration of Independence have long been under their assaults, because both were written by white men and slave-owners, and these amended documents halt their own authoritarian agenda. They would scrap these documents altogether if they could, placing them in the dustbin of history and divesting them of honor.

    A history hidden away and purged is a half-truth and a lie, no history at all. America’s sins in slavery are despicable, abominable and dark, however, Her inalienable rights that served as the mechanism to end slavery are virtues to be praised, brilliant as a rising sun.

    by Justin O Smith

  2. From June 8th 2017:

    Assaulting Our American Heritage / Impugning Confederate Honor

    Monuments honoring heroes of the Confederate States of America, American heroes in fact, are being removed from the public square, due to a successful presentation of oversimplified arguments and lies by the same progressive Leftist Democratic apparatus that seeks to fundamentally transform America. These assaults on the Southern heritage by politically correct propagandists and arrogant activist ideologues are assaults on our American culture and heritage, or “AmeriKKKa” as the Left calls America; and, it is nothing short of a cultural cleansing campaign, a purging of the truth and history and a national disgrace.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447824/new-orleans-confederate-monuments-robert-e-lee-memory-hole

    In 2015, the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP called for the destruction of the Stone Mountain Confederate Monument, that honors Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson. They wanted the nearly 2000 square feet and 12 feet deep carving “sandblasted away”.

    In February, the city council of Charlottesville, VA sought to remove Robert E. Lee’s likeness from its 100 year resting place. They have been temporarily blocked by a lawsuit filed by the Monument Fund and 29 other plaintiffs.

    Soon protests arose in Charlottesville and NAACP President Rick Turner told the crowds: “I think a decision must be made to remove the statue by any means necessary.”

    However, the City of New Orleans successfully removed the Battle of Liberty Place obelisk on April 4th and statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard on May 11th and May 17th, consecutively. The statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from New Orlean’s Lee Circle on May 19th, while other efforts are appearing nationwide, in places like Houston, Baltimore, St. Louis and Phoenix.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/5/black-leaders-remove-confederate-monuments-from-ar/

    Starting in 1784, Thomas Jefferson and many righteous men afterwards attempted to abolish slavery until the end of the Civil War, including former slave owners such as James Madison. It is worth observing that while General Ulysses S. Grant owned one slave and his wife owned four slaves until 1859, General Robert E. Lee never owned any.

    General Beauregard’s statue was taken down in the dark of night and Lee’s was coming down, when New Orlean’s Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) revealed an astounding level of ignorance of history, stating: “They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots. These monuments celebrate a fictional sanitized Confederacy.” Landrieu could not be any more egregiously wrong.

    On December 27th 1856, Robert E. Lee wrote to his wife: “Slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil in any country … a greater evil to the white than to the black race … nearly two thousand years [of Christianity] … and even among the Christian nations what gross errors still exist!”

    Many Confederate generals did not want to secede and neither did Jefferson Davis. More than the issue of slavery that had profited both New England slave traders and Southern plantation owners, the South saw secession as a necessity in the face of the unfair tariffs the North had applied against the South from 1828 to 1832 and beyond, which were placed on goods not made in the South.The 1861 Morrill tariff was the spark for the Civil War. And so, they too pledged their lives, fortune and sacred honor as they seceded from an oppressive federal government to retain their sovereignty, their Constitutional rights and a free government.

    https://mises.org/library/lincolns-tariff-war

    President Abraham Lincoln was not any “Great Emancipator” himself. On August 22nd 1862, he wrote a letter to Horace Greeley, founder and editor of the New York Tribune, who supported a general amnesty for Confederate officials and angered Northeners by signing a bail bond for Jefferson Davis. In part the letter read: “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.”

    So why do the Leftist mobs of Antifa and Black Lives Matter castigate, impugn and demonize the character and honor of a noble man such as Robert E. Lee, while giving Ulysses S. Grant a pass?

    General PGT Beauregard was a St Bernard Parrish native and a man of contradictions, who spent most of his non-military life in New Orleans. He fired the first shots in a war to preserve states rights and slavery, and yet in defeat, Beauregard argued passionately for the right of black people to vote.

    So Beauregard is impugned, while a statue of Senator Edward Carmack (D-TN) still stands in Nashville on the south side of Tennessee’s State Capitol Building. Carmack advocated for the repeal of the 15th Amendment, which granted black men the right to vote; he was also the editor of the ‘Nashville Tennessean’ and a coward, who was shot and killed, on Union St. in Nashville, as he hid behind Mrs. Charles Eastman after firing on Duncan Cooper, his nemesis.

    It is nearly impossible to find any truth behind the Left’s assertions, that they are campaigning against the “white supremacy” symbolized by Confederate monuments, when most Confederate soldiers did not own slaves by the time the Civil War was burning hot. To claim that the majority of non-slaveholder soldiers, who fought for the South, could have fought and sacrificed their lives and those of their families, so a minority of wealthy aristocrats could retain the “right” to own slaves is preposterous on any analysis.

    The logic behind these character assassinations make it inescapably clear that the Left will not be satisfied until every white figure who doesn’t pass their “progressive” scrutiny is cleansed from the Southern culture and American culture too. How much truth must be sacrificed to mold history to fit a single strain of a prevailing political ideology?

    Mitch Landrieu and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and many other Democrats, along with some misguided and ill-informed “conservatives” say that these men don’t deserve to be honored. Who does then?

    President McKinley had fought against “Stonewall” Jackson, as a teenager, in the Shenandoah. McKinley was at Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War; and at the start of the Spanish-American War, when Southern volunteers and former Confederate soldiers paraded through Atlanta to fight for a united America, McKinley removed his hat and stood for the singing of ‘Dixie’.

    Nearly half of the fifty-five members of the Constitutional Convention owned slaves or facilitated the slave trade. Is anything associated with Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other Founders now considered to be immoral too?

    Are Americans really going to allow more monuments to be torn down? Are Americans going to sandblast Stone Mountain Confederate Monument and even Mount Rushmore, sandblasting away our American Heritage? I say “NO”.

    Left unrestrained, the radicals of this nation will attempt to purge and destroy every vestige of anything remotely associated with any slaveholder. Our Constitution and even our Declaration of Independence have long been under their assaults, because both were written by white men and slave-owners, and these amended documents halt their own authoritarian agenda. They would scrap these documents altogether if they could, placing them in the dustbin of history and divesting them of honor.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/condoleezza-rice-dont-sanitize-history-by-taking-down-monuments/article/2622426

    A history hidden away and purged is a half-truth and a lie, no history at all. America’s sins in slavery are despicable, abominable and dark, however, Her inalienable rights that served as the mechanism to end slavery are virtues to be praised, brilliant as a rising sun.

    by Justin O Smith

  3. I wrote the following piece on June 17th 2017. It’s entitled Leftist Cultural Cleansing Rooted In Hate.

    Constitutional conservative minded Americans must stop the recently accelerated movement to remove Confederate Monuments, because it is a tool used by the racists of the regressive Democratic Communist Party and the Black Caucus to gain more power and destroy our Constitutional Republic. Their campaign uses “white supremacy” as an excuse to attack the Western and Judeo-Christian principles that built America; and in their zeal to create a sanitized fantasy world, where nothing bad ever happened in America’s history, they are destroying both American and Black history and eliminating anyone, and anything, that they deem to be “racist”, from the public square and the annals of history.

    States like Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee already have laws protecting their historical monuments, while the monuments along Richmond’s Monument Avenue rest in a protected historical park. Alabama recently extended such protection to its monuments on May 24th 2017 through the Alabama Monument Preservation Act.

    Now Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and former mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who allowed Baltimore to be torn apart by riots, are leading the movement to remove the Roger B. Taney Monument, on Mt. Vernon Place, and the Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson Monuments in the Wymann Park Dell. The approximate $600,000 price-tag is the only thing that has stopped them so far, but they are considering auctioning them off.

    In St. Louis, Mayor Lyda Krewson and city treasurer Tishuara Jones are leading the charge to remove a 32 feet tall monument in Forest Park, dedicated in 1914, that depicts a Confederate soldier leaving his family for the Civil War. An angel hovers above them, and the inscription reads, “in memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Confederate States By the United Daughters of the Confederacy of St. Louis”.

    Those people willing to eradicate the Confederacy from America’s consciousness seem to forget many things. They forget that Jefferson Davis, although an advocate for slavery, was a hero of the Mexican-American War, a former U.S. Senator and Secretary of War for the United States. They forget that many Confederate Veterans fought with distinction in the Spanish-American War and they are American Veterans, who received pensions and benefits by an act of Congress.

    As Senator Gerald Allen of Alabama recently noted: “… history itself … it may be good, bad, or ugly — you can’t whitewash it … When you start removing monuments and statues … in a sense you lose history.”

    By and large, most Southerners really do wish to simply preserve the history of these Confederate heroes and their Southern heritage. They have long set aside their racial prejudice, on the whole, even if it was a struggle getting there.

    However, America could destroy every Confederate monument and that would still not satisfy the Left, especially the Black Caucus and some black and Hispanic communities across America. They would continue this cultural cleansing aimed at white society. Behind their remorseless drive against white culture is an egalitarian extremism rooted in hate and envy.

    Democrat Rep. Reginald of Arizona fumes over “six [Confederate] monuments … using tax payer dollars to actually prop up … terrorism of its day”. He has yet to denounce the radicals and the Leftist terrorism that is surging and becoming increasingly more violent.

    Last month, hundreds of illegal aliens tried to ban U.S. citizens from a city council meeting in Cudahy, CA. Shouts of “white supremacists back to Europe” were fired across the halls and outside.

    In an August 2013 New Black Panther Broadcast, Samir Shabbaz said, “You’re going to have to kill some of these babies, just born three seconds ago … go into the God damn nursery … and just kill everything white in sight …”. His hate-filled rant called for bombing white churches and “[burning] up some cracker white supremacy”, if blacks wanted to be free.

    In January 2017, a Black Lives Matter activist in Seattle, a preschool teacher, calling for reparations and the confiscation of white property, said, “We need to start killing people … Fk white supremacy, fk the U.S. empire”. And then on Flag Day, we were horrified to witness a Bernie Sanders Leftist gun down Representative Steve Scalise (R) and Matt Mitka, both in critical condition at this writing, along with Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner.

    I wonder if these Leftist and Democrats have forgotten that free black men owned slaves prior to the Civil War too?

    Some free black men owned family members to protect them, but there were plenty like William Ellis, one of South Carolina’s largest land owners, who were in the slave breeding business for profit. Ellis even sold one of his own daughters into slavery.

    There were approximately 488,000 free black men in America — ten percent of the black population — according to federal census reports from June 1st 1860, and of these free black men, there were approximately 262,000 living in the South, with 10,700 or so living in New Orleans. And, according to Duke University Professor John Franklin, over three thousand free black men in New Orleans owned slaves, or about twenty-eight percent of freed blacks in New Orleans.

    Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told Fox News on May 8th 2017: “I am a firm believer in ‘keep your history before you’ … Confederate heroes should be viewed in the context of their time instead of through the prism of modern values.

    Where does this end? Are we now expected to dynamite half of Mount Rushmore out of existence and topple the Washington Monument? Are we expected to rename Washington, D.C and other cities across America like Jefferson City, Missouri? The Left and the Democratic Party would tell us that “Yes, we expect you to do deconstruct America”.

    The dead stones of the Confederate monuments honoring noble men on the wrong side of history are cut from the virtues of their day and harmless, even if some say they symbolize the evil done by the real monsters from the Confederate and Jim Crow eras. Those monsters are a long time dead, long passed. The monsters of the regressive Democratic Party, those Communists, Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panther Party and LARAZA are here today, in the here and now, with us.

    Some of these Leftists and Democrats are just as evil, if not more so, as the most evil slave traders in American history. They claim to be fighting against “white supremacy” and the racism it perpetrated, but in return, they offer black and brown supremacy, intolerance, racism and hate directed at white people in general. They embrace an anti-American ideology that leads to the abuses and slavery that they claim to despise — the “re-education camps” and the gulags — as they attempt to foist their fractured fairy tales upon all America. They are the very monsters they claim to fight.

    The Long Road to Freedom is being deconstructed. The Road to Civil War is being paved.

  4. One of the greatest pieces to come out of the Civil War, a great piece of public art dedicated 123 years ago on May 31st, the monument to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment was defaced and vandalized on May 31st 2020, by ignorant masses who did so in the name of George Floyd, killed in a police brutality incident on May 25th. How ironic this vile act was, in light of the fact that this monument commemorates black lives dedicated and sacrificed to the fight to end slavery in America.

    Standing atop a hill on the Boston Common the memorial is explained by The Partnership to Renew the Shaw 54th Regimental Memorial: “The most acclaimed piece of sculpture on the Boston Common is the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens: a memorial to that group of men who were among the first African Americans to fight in the Civil War. The monument portrays Shaw and his men marching down Beacon Street past the State House on May 28, 1863 as they left Boston on their way to South Carolina. Shaw erect on his horse, the men marching alongside.”

    This monument to the men of 54th Massachusetts Regiment stands across from the Massachusetts State House. It is under the care of the City of Boston, which also owns it, the National Park Service and the Museum of African American History. It is the first stop on the Black Heritage Trail.

    Noting how painful it was to see this monument, and other monuments she loves, vandalized in so egregious a manner, purportedly by people exerting their “free speech” rights, Liz Vizza, executive director of Friends of the Public Garden, poignantly expressed the crux of the matter: “A thousand men signed up just after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, just think about that. These are men who, if they were captured in the south, would be enslaved or murdered. But this cause was so important to them, they signed up to go fight for their freedom.”

    These men lived and breathed as Free Men finally. They fought a major battle at Ft Wagner, where many of them died and were subsequently buried in a mass grave. This sculpture celebrates men of color, and those who committed this vile act didn’t lessen their sacrifices. They merely cheapened and dishonored their own lives, no matter the color of their skin.

    by Justin O Smith

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