Created in 1897 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the famed Shaw/54th Memorial
facing Beacon Street and the State House is considered one of the country’s
greatest public monuments. In 1982, an inscription was added to the rear of
the monument facing the Common that lists the names of the 62 African
American soldiers of the 54th Regiment who were killed in service. It was
designed by John Benson, whose work includes the name inscription on the
modern wing of the Boston Public Library and the John F. Kennedy and Robert
F. Kennedy gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery.
By 1989, the
inscription letters had already faded and were re-painted. Once again they
have become barely legible, and the Friends has contracted with Jean-Louis
Lachevre, chief conservator of the MFA to re-letter the inscription. This
week you will be able to read the inscription and reflect on the
achievements of the first free black regiment in the Union Army.