Boston rioters allegedly protesting racial discrimination in America took their anger out on more than a dozen statues and monuments around Boston Common this past Sunday night. Among the damaged and defaced monuments was one dedicated to African-American soldiers who fought to end slavery during the Civil War.
“The Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial was one of 16 public art works damaged when thousands of protesters swarmed Boston Common on Sunday night,” WBUR reported. The sculpture had received a $3 million restoration grant just last week.
“The conservator’s recent prep work protected the front of the bronze relief with plywood, but its granite backside was vandalized with four-letter words and phrases including ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ and ‘Police are Pigs,’” the outlet reported.
Liz Vizza, executive director of the Friends of the Public Garden, told WBUR that the statue was defaced 123 years to the day that it was dedicated.
“This monument is considered one of the nation’s greatest pieces of public art and the greatest piece to come out of the Civil War,” Vizza told the outlet. “It was, amazingly enough, dedicated 123 years ago on May 31st – the day it was defaced.”
“How do we make silent stone speak?” she asked before mentioning there are “too many dead white men in parks.”
The Friends of the Public Garden is an advocacy group that protects and cares for 42 sculptures and other works across three different historical parks in Boston. The Shaw memorial is one of the sculptures in their care.
Vizza said the defaced sculpture represents soldiers of color, “which I want to lift up.”
“How do we help people understand the power in these monuments?” she asked.
WBUR explained the history of the statue:
The Shaw Memorial captures the likenesses of the first African American volunteer infantry unit – the 54th Massachusetts Regiment – that fought after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Their colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, advocated for the men to join the war because they desperately wanted to fight for freedom. If the soldiers had been captured in battle they could have been enslaved or killed. Their heroic story was recounted in the 1989 Hollywood film “Glory.”
The statutes and monuments in Boston are not the only ones getting vandalized during the riots that have broken out across the country following the police-involved death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. As The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra reported, The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was vandalized Sunday evening. National Guardsmen are now standing outside to protect the monument from rioters and protesters. St. John’s Episcopal Church, the World War II Memorial, and other monuments around the nation’s capital were also vandalized, The Daily Wire previously reported.
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