Update to “Why Is This Monument Here?”
My previous update once again needs updating which is why I decided to blog a separate post. During my interview yesterday with PNBP Historian Chris Calkins I was given the name of a living historian who portrayed a USCT in the late 1980s. Little did I know that my conversation today with this individual would clarify this morning’s post on the placement of the USCT monument in Petersburg. The individual in question was a graduate student at Virginia State University in the late 1980s who saw a need to address the lack of attention to USCTs on the Petersburg battlefield. In addition to working as a living historian of the USCT experience it turns out that this individual spearheaded the push to commemorate the service of USCTs with a monument. Of course I asked why the marker was not placed at the Crater.
While there was talk of placing the monument at the Crater the decision to place the monument at Stop #3/Confederate Battery 9 was to point out that USCT participation went beyond the Crater. More interesting was the concern that a monument at the Crater would raise additional issues that may have moved the focus away from emphasizing the service and sacrifice of USCTs and their role within the broader story of black freedom.