Voices of the Shaw/54th Memorial

Joshua Bowen Smith first proposed a memorial to Col. Robert Gould Shaw. When it was unveiled in 1897, it honored more than just the fallen officer and it continues to hold different meanings today. Explore the many voices of this sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Closeup of the Shaw Memorial Soldiers with a dusting of snow
African Americans and 54th MA Regiment

To Heal the Wounded Nation’s Life: African Americans and the Robert Gould Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial

Panelists: Dr. Kimberly Pinder, Steve Locke, Kathryn Grover discussing 54th Memorial Meanings
A Memorial's Many Meanings

Watch a recording of the 2021 panel discussion, Marching So Boldly: Remembering Black Lives Through History and Art.

Soldiers at the 54th Shaw Memorial
Expanding the Story

Historian Kathryn Grover explores Black perspectives of the Shaw/54th Memorial.

54th Shaw Memorial
The Original Bronze Casting (1897)

The memorial continues to stand along Boston Common and is now part of Boston African American National Historic Site.

A refinded plaster version from 1900 of the 54th Shaw Memorial
A Refined Plaster Version (1900)

Augustus Saint-Gaudens continued refining his sculpture even after the "final" version was unveiled in Boston. This version is now on loan

54th Shaw Memorial in Cornish NH with American flads
A Casting in New Hampshire (1997)

This full-size bronze sculpture is among the hedges at the sculptor's former estate. Intimately experience this art in its place of creation



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    54th Voluntary Regiment Faces article reduced


    Faces of the 54th: Soldiers and Officers Database

    The bravery and service of the enlisted men and officers proved instrumental in securing freedom for enslaved people. While the story of the 54th remains well known in history, the stories of many of its soldiers remain untold. Explore these data sets to learn more and make your own discoveries.

    Last updated: January 13, 2022

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