Legacy of the 54th Remembering the Regiment

Item contributed by National Parks of Boston

In 1917, members of Boston’s Black community gathered in Faneuil Hall to remember the 54th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Wagner. Those attending included members of the 54th Regiment: Rev. Henry Norman, Maj. Wesley J. Furlong, the Rev. E. George Biddle, Charles Harrison, and Maj. Alexander H. Johnson.

Notable orator Eliza Gardner, over 90 years old, recognized the integral role Black soldiers played in the Civil War:

The North met with defeat in the civil war until it called on the black man, and yet after all the sacrifices of our race he is not considered worthy of the companionship of the whites. Yet as there was no victory without us in the past, so there will be none without us in the future.

While the event commemorated the heroism of the 54th Regiment, it also served as a call to action for the community to denounce racial discrimination and the terrorizing of Black Americans through lynchings.

About item:

"Honor Heroes of Ft. Wagner," Boston Herald, July 19, 1917.

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