Sunday, 22 September 2013

Washington Gallery of Art Honours Black Soldiers

The National Gallery of Art in Washington is celebrating black heritage with a series of portraits depicting the role of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War. The exhibition, 'Tell it with Pride' focuses on the memorial to Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who led the regiment, and the black soldiers who served under his command. The first Congressional Medal of Honor to be given to an African American soldier (after the Fort Wagner battle) will be on display, as well as the portraits of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, two of the most famous fugitive slaves. Before the 54th Massachusetts, many in the North remained skeptical of the regiment but their heroic charge at Fort Wagner changed the prevailing opinion. It was this infamous charge that was featured in the film 'Glory'; what the film doesn't show is that a third of those who were present at the battle were killed, wounded or listed as missing. Shaw's family received an anonymous letter detailing the bravery of the 54th, and encouraged them to "tell it with pride to the world."

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