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Friday, July 27, 2018

Mayor Walsh & Community Leaders Announce Restoration of Boston's Shaw Memorial

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh was joined today by the National Park ServiceBoston Parks & Recreation DepartmentFriends 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 54th Regiment Memorial, known as the Shaw Memorial.

Located at the corner of Beacon and Park Streets, across from the Massachusetts State House, the memorial pays tribute to the 54th Black Regiment of soldiers who fought valiantly in the American Civil War.  This work captures the humanity, nobility and unfettered idealism of war in the depiction of the foot soldiers who fought for freedom from slavery.  

Mayor Walsh called the memorial, “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.”

The sculptor was Augustus Saint Gaudens, who was born in DublinIreland in 1848 to a French father and Irish mother.  At age six months, Augustus fled with his family to escape the Irish Famine 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 Sherman's stunning 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 on the Black Heritage Trail and on the Irish Heritage Trail

Read more about Irish immigrant sculptors who came to America in the 19th century, and other profiles about Boston's Irish history

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