Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III returned to Boston Public Radio on Wednesday and discussed ongoing restoration of one of the city’s most significant public monuments, made in honor of Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the historic 54th Massachusetts Infantry.
"The 54th Massachusetts Infantry was an all-Black, enlisted group of soldiers during the Civil War who were known as the most prolific and the most trustworthy soldiers that you could have,” Price explained.
The volunteer Union regiment, which was founded in 1863 and consisted of over 1,000 Black Union soldiers, was also lionized in the 1989 film “Glory,” starring Morgan Freeman and Matthew Broderick.
The bronze monument, originally unveiled in 1897 and housed at Boston Common, is currently going through a $3 million restoration process, which is expected to be completed sometime in late November.
"I love it, and I think it’s tax dollars well spent. … Statues, to me, tell a history about what a country and a city thinks about itself and its heroes,” Monroe said. "I’m very, very glad that this’ll be a statue that most people — at least in the city of Boston — can rally behind.
"And at the time, too,” she added, "that we’re gonna take down the Lincoln statue."
Reverend Irene Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist, the Boston voice for Detour's African American Heritage Trail, and a Visiting Researcher in the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at Boston University School of Theology. Emmett G. Price III is Professor of Worship, Church and Culture, and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Together they host the All Rev'd Up podcast.