African-American Civil War soldiers finally recognized at Cleveland site
More than 100 black war veterans will finally be recognized at a site in downtown Cleveland that pays homage to men who fought in the American Civil War.
The 1894 Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Cleveland’s Public Square is one of the most visible sites in the city and attracts around 40,000 visitors inside the memorial building every year.
The breathtaking monument consists of an imposing 125-foot column topped with a statue of the Goddess of Freedom.
Inside, the names of 9,000 Civil War veterans who served with Cuyahoga County regiments or were from that same area are engraved in the marble tablets that line the walls.
It was in 2010 that researchers first heard that the service of around 140 black soldiers from the area who fought in the Civil War but were omitted from the tablets. The commission overseeing the monument said it will honor these men, mostly like by inscribing their names on the tablets, and others they uncover through additional research.
“It is important to honor their service to their community and country,” Ted Prasse, president of the commission, told theGrio. “Our mandate is to pay tribute to all those who fought in the Civil War; the fact that they’re African-American is less relevant than their omission.”
“By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy. Nearly 40,000 black soldiers died over the course of the war-30,000 of infection or disease,” according to National Archives.
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