For Immediate Release - January 25, 2007


Abolitionist leader helped create the 54th and 55th Regiments

BOSTON-Thursday, January 25, 2007-Governor Deval Patrick has chosen to display in his office a portrait of Governor John Albion Andrew, the 25 th Governor of Massachusetts and an abolitionist who helped create some of the first US Army units comprised of black men during the Civil War.

Governor Andrew, a member of the Republican Party, took office on January 2, 1861 on the eve of the Civil War. In April of that year, Massachusetts troops were the first to respond to President Lincoln's urgent request for 75,000 volunteers to defend the Capitol. Under the leadership of Governor Andrew, the Commonwealth's soldiers became the first to defend the Union in the War. Following the Union's victory, he advocated reconciliation with the South.

"Governor Andrew was a well-respected and courageous leader who displayed bold leadership during his tenure in office," Governor Patrick said. "At a time of great divide in America, he demonstrated a willingness to change the status quo and encouraged others to do the same. I am proud to display his portrait in my office, and I hope that I may govern with the same compassion and foresight that he demonstrated."

One of Governor Andrew's most notable achievements was his role in creating the famed 54 th Regiment, the Army's first all-black unit. A statue of that regiment sits on Beacon Street today across from the State House.

Governor Andrew was elected Governor by one of the widest margins in state history. He left office in 1866 and returned to his law practice. He died in 1867 at his home in Boston and is buried today in Hingham Cemetery.

Massachusetts governors historically display a portrait of a governor they admire in their office during their tenure.