In commemoration of the Civil War battle of Fort Wagner led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the men of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment and in cooperation with the Massachusetts Historical Society, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. has organized the exhibition Tell It with Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw Memorial.
The exhibition celebrates Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ magisterial Shaw Memorial (1883–1900). When Saint-Gaudens created the monument, he based his likeness of Shaw on photographs of the colonel, but for his depiction of the other soldiers, he hired African American men to pose in his studio. This exhibition seeks to make real the soldiers of the 54th represented anonymously in the memorial. It brings together vintage photographic portraits of members of the regiment and of the men and women who recruited, nursed, taught, and guided them.
Throughout the run of the exhibition special programs are planned in cooperation with the Museum of African American History, the Boston African American National Historic Site, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Company A, and the Friends of the Public Garden.