In response to the vast outpouring of support and concern about the recent shooting at the African American Civil War Memorial, the non-profit foundation that built the memorial and operates a museum at the site is sponsoring “Rally on the High Ground,” a national fundraising drive to fix the gun damage and other major problems at the Northwest Washington facility.
On Dec. 26, police believe gunfire was exchanged between two people, damaging the memorial’s Wall of Honor. No one was injured in the incident. The total cost of needed repairs is approximately $575,000.
“It is our goal to raise the funds necessary to get all repairs completed in time for the Grand Review planned for 2015 that will mark the sesquicentennial celebration of the end of the American Civil War,” Beverly Perry, chairperson of the board of directors for the African American Civil War Freedom Foundation, said in a statement.
The memorial is the nation’s way of paying tribute to the 209,145 African American Union soldiers who bravely stood up with President Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War to abolish slavery and keep America united under one flag. The memorial was authorized by Congress and was built with private funds on federal land. The completed memorial was turned over to the National Park Service in 2003, and the adjacent museum continues to operate with private funds.
The two names damaged by gunfire were Lt. Adolph Ebermayer, an officer in the 121st Regiment, United States Colored Troops, who mustered into the Union Army in September 1864 in Louisville, Ky. The second name damaged was that of Henry Foster, who was a private in the 121st. Army. Records show that Pvt. Foster enlisted in the Army at the age of 20 and had dark hair, dark eyes and complexion and stood five feet, five inches tall. He was from Pike County, Ky.
The names on the Memorial Wall of Honor are enrolled by regiment in alphabetical order by last name; the two damaged names appear next to each other.
“All repairs will be done according to the specifications required by the various permitting entities,” said Frank Smith, founding director of the museum.
The monument is located in the Shaw area of Washington, D.C., which is named for Col. Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the famed Massachusetts 54th Regiment.
Persons interested in joining the fundraiser may do so by making a tax deductible donation or future pledge to the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation, 1925 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20001. Patrons may also donate online at www.afroamcivilwar.org. Please place “memorial repairs” in the memo section.