Black Civil War Shrine Begun: Memorial in Shaw to Honor 178,000 African-Americans

Article excerpt

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass would have been proud that 131 years after his sons fought in the Civil War black soldiers were recognized yesterday at the groundbreaking of the African-American Civil War Memorial in Shaw.

The memorial will commemorate the 178,000 black soldiers who fought in the war and the 7,000 white officers who led them. It is the focus of a weeklong celebration of black soldiers' service during the Civil War.

"I'm sure my great-great-grandfather would be very proud and have poignant words to say on this special occasion," said Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Douglass Greene, who was booted from his front-row seat at the late arrival of Mayor Marion Barry.

Unlike many of the city's other war memorials, which are on or near the Mall, this monument will be built at 10th and U streets NW in the Shaw neighborhood. The community is named after Robert Gould Shaw, the white commander of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, which was memorialized in the movie "Glory."

The $2.6 million monument consists of metal plaques with the names of the men - black and white - who served in the 166 "colored" regiments. It will depict a line of Civil War soldiers and sailors on one side of a semicircle and the families they were fighting for on the other. …