Rioters Deface Memorial Devoted to First All-Black Union Army Civil War Regiment
In a display of acute hypocrisy, looters and rioters appear to have vandalized a statue in Boston dedicated to the second black regiment to fight on the side of the Union in the American Civil War.
The Shaw Memorial is named after Robert Gould Shaw, the commanding officer of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The regiment came into existence after Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, and recruited blacks in the northern United States. It saw combat in some of the Civil War’s most vicious battles, with Shaw himself being killed in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner.
Authorities believe that rioters vandalized the memorial on Sunday, May 31st- curiously enough, the 123rd anniversary of its dedication.
At the memorial, which depicts the regiment, was found defaced with graffiti, and “ACAB,” inscriptions(an acronym for “All Cops Are B*******).
Democratic Boston Mayor Martin Walsh condemned the vandalism, admitting that it was disgraceful. “That memorial is sacred to black Boston and to our country. This was the very last thing that our city, quite honestly, needed.” A $3 million restoration project repairing wear on the memorial was slated to begin only last week, having been delayed by the coronavirus.
The memorial is located at Boston Common, a collection of memorials nearly the Massachusetts State Legislature. Other historical monuments were defaced with rioter’s graffiti, including the George Washington Statue, a 9/11 memorial, and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Cleanup crews started removing the spraypaint and damages to the monuments on Monday.
It’s an acute irony that vandals and rioters, many of whom claim to be speaking in the interests of black people, felt compelled in what was either an act of historical ignorance or indiscriminate anti-Americanism to deface a memorial to some of the first black American soldiers to take up arms against the Confederacy.