Photo: Robert Gould Shaw Memorial
Photo - Dave Wieneke, MCET

54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial

Sculptor: Agustus Saint Gaudens

Dedicated: 1897

The Shaw - 54th Regiment Memorial captures a historic moment of integrity, which embodied the Civil War's higher goal, the end of slavery.

It is considered to be among the finest works of public art in the United States. The Statue's inscriptions tell the story of Shaw and the regiment of Black volunteers from the North.

More importantly, Agustus Saint Gaudens bas-relief statue shows the individual dignity of soldiers and the unit. Considered his greatest work, the monument took 14 years.

St. Gaudens modeled more than 40 heads based on human models, making this among the first pieces of American art in which a white artist portrayed Black in sympathetic and personal terms.

Dedicated Memorial Day, 1897, the memorial was an instant success. It has inspired poetry, commemorations, essays and the popular film Glory.