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Mayor Walsh hails Shaw Memorial restoration

Mayor Marty Walsh (back row fourth from left) at the gathering on Friday, July 27 where the restoration was initiated.


By Michael Quinlin

BOSTON --- Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has joined the National Park Service, Boston Parks and Recreation Department, Friends of the Public Garden and Museum of African American History officials to formalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaboratively restore the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial/Shaw Memorial.

Located at the corner of Beacon and Park Streets, across from the Massachusetts State House, the memorial pays tribute to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment of black soldiers who fought valiantly in the American Civil War.

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The feats of the regiment and its Irish American commander were portrayed in the movie “Glory” and the memorial is the work of Dublin-born Augustus Saint Gaudens.

The work captures the humanity, nobility and utter idealism of war in the depiction of the foot soldiers and is considered one of the nation's most compelling Civil War memorials.

Mayor Walsh described the memorial as “one of the most important pieces of art in the United States of America and we are deeply proud to have that piece here in the city of Boston. It reminds us of what is possible in our city when we live by our highest ideals.”

Augustus Saint Gaudens was born in 1848 to a French father and Irish mother.

At age six months, he fled with his family to escape the Great Hunger and landed at Boston Harbor in October, 1848.

The family eventually moved to New York City, and Augustus later moved to Paris where he studied the works of master sculptors.

Considered the premier American sculptor of his generation, Saint Gaudens created the Admiral David Farragut statue in South Boston, hailed as “the beginning of the American renaissance” in sculpture; statues of Abraham Lincoln (standing and sitting) in Chicago; and General William Tecumseh Sherman's memorial at the entrance to New York City’s Central Park.

He also created the Charles Stuart Parnell Statue in his native city of Dublin.

The Shaw Memorial is listed on both Boston’s Black Heritage Trail and on the Irish Heritage Trail.

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