In March 1863, Massachusetts Gov. John A. Andrew authorized the first black volunteer regiment to fight for the Union Army during the Civil War. The Massachusetts 54th Regiment, commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, gained recognition after spearheading an assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina, in July of that year. During the battle at Fort Wagner, Shaw and 116 of his men were killed.

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and Colonel Shaw are memorialized on the Boston Common with a monument considered one of the most important installations of public art in the country.

The Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial is about to undergo a multi-million dollar restoration, which we discussed on the show last fall. Over the past year, The Museum of African American History and the Friends of the Public Garden have been collaborating on programs and events highlighting Boston’s black history as a prelude to the construction.

An upcoming event to kick off construction for the Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial Restoration project is scheduled for October 10, 2019.

Marita Rivero - Executive Director of the Museum of African American History in Boston.
Liz Vizza - Executive Director atFriends of the Public Garden.
Joe Zellner - Member and former President of the Board of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Company A Reenactors.