National Rededication of the Restored 54th Regiment Memorial
June 1, 2022
The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial, a 125-year-old monument honoring one of the first all-Black regiments to serve in the Civil War, was rededicated during a ceremony on the Boston Common, with speakers alluding to its significance as a “beacon of hope” in the fight against racism.
The late morning national rededication of the monument marked the culmination of a three-year, $3 million restoration of the monument, which has served as a catalyst for a broad conversation on race, equity and social justice for all.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and members of the audience watch as the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment march past the memorial. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu offers remarks at the National Rededication of the Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial.
“This monument has always been here for 125 years saying the Confederacy did not win that war,” Blight said. “This monument tells a story like no other…It says African Americans had to die to be counted as people. And from that, maybe, just maybe, the American Republic could be re-invented, re-imagined, remade, and maybe, still preserved.”
Taps played before the bronze faces of the 54th Regiment. Members of the military placed a wreath on the memorial. All these years later, the site was again full of dignitaries, artists and city leaders. There was a tent where people could learn more about the 54th Regiment. The Park Service also created a database called “Faces of the 54th,” which shows the names, ages, ranks and occupations of more than 1,500 men, both soldiers and officers. The Boston Children’s Chorus performed an original song called “Those heroes who healed the nation” by Julius P. Williams, a professor in Berklee College of Music’s composition department.
A wreath is placed in front of the memorial during the rededication ceremony. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Allegrone Companies, in partnership with the NPS, Museum of African American History, Boston Parks Department, and Friends of the Public Garden, began work to restore the Robert Gould Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial in the summer of 2020.
"Allegrone removed every piece of Tennessee Marble and local Granite, crating it, and shipping it to Lenox, where we cleaned and restored every piece as needed" explained Michael Mucci, Director of Masonry. "We designed and built a “shark cage” as we dubbed it, to house and transport the bronze masterpiece to a local bronze restoration studio in Woburn. We were responsible to ensure that all the restoration work was performed to “The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.” We then brought everything back to the site and rebuilt this masterpiece in its entirety, while also adding a stainless-steel skeleton (which cannot be seen) between the bronze and the marble so that it can now withstand a seismic event."
Those from our team who attended the 2 hour event felt the importance of preservation and embraced the pride in completing such an iconic project.