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Introduction
1)
Title
Negro Heroes of the US
2)
Town, State
Baltimore, MD
3)
ID #
1196
4)
Compilation Date (Initial)
August 01, 2003
5)
Compilation Date (Latest)
October 15, 2011
6)
Site Worked Last
October 21, 2011
Description
The monument remembers and honors as heroes black soldiers who have died fighting for the U.S., notably between 1775 and 1970, and certainly beyond as well. Located in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, this memorial’s soldier subject wears late 20th century military attire and holds, almost in presentation, wreath and sash. The latter lists the dates of the wars in which these men – and, clearly, women – of African-American roots have chosen to leave family, spouses, children to fight and defend, from our War for Independence to our Vietnam, to the present. By their joining and fighting, African-Americans make the point that as a group, social and political barriers notwithstanding, black Americans have voluntarily made the supreme sacrifice to defend the country of us all -- from then, till now, to whenever. Moreover, they have served and died for – isn’t it obvious? -- the same reasons as all of us have, from the patriotic to the personal. • The sculpture is made of bronze, stands on a rectangular, upright base of granite, and has a plaque fastened to its front. The soldier looks out, eastward, over the green of Baltimore’s War Memorial Plaza. Nearby, a spray spouts upward from underground waterworks. The 13½-foot sculpture was created by artist James E. Lewis (1923-1997). Virginia-born and Maryland-raised, Lewis led the art department of Morgan State University, Baltimore, for 36 years as professor and chairman. In addition, Lewis was a collector of African-American art for Morgan State, and his community life seems to have been interwoven fully into Baltimore’s civic fabric, as portrayed by his work with the city’s commission on historic preservation as well as its symphony orchestra. The foundry for the Lewis piece was Roman Bronze Works, Inc., New York, a well-known and well-regarded maker of monuments, private and public. Lawrence Construction Company, Baltimore, installed the sculpture at the Battle Monument site. • The memorial was positioned at the northern end of Battle Monument Plaza, near Lexington Street as it crosses Calvert Street, in Baltimore’s downtown. Around the time of the creation of the Negro Heroes monument, in the late 1960s, there was controversy as to whether Battle Monument Plaza was the most appropriate site for the work. The Battle Monument, since 1825 near Fayette Street, or the southern end of the Plaza, recalls the War of 1812 and celebrates the city’s defense against and defeat of the British assaults on Baltimore, September 12-15, 1814. It was decided ultimately to install the Heroes memorial on the Plaza, May 30, 1972, along with the 1812 War Memorial. At the urging some 35 years later of The African American Patriots Consortium, Inc., which had the support of other veterans’ groups as well, the Heroes memorial was relocated by the city to its current position at War Memorial Plaza, recently renovated at that time, on January 13, 2007. This current position places Negro Heroes of the US in front of City Hall, and near the corner of East Fayette where it meets Commerce Street. • An anonymous donor to the city commissioned the sculpture with a gift of $30,000, according to SIRIS. In a newspaper article in 2007 about the statue’s relocation, a reporter noted that through a municipal government official all anyone in the city knew about the anonymous donor was that it was a family from the Midwest. The city of Baltimore maintains the Heroes site.
Content
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1)
War Dead or those Serving and Dying
2)
African-American/African
3)
All conflicts as a group
Design
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1)
Statue(s) w/wo pedestal
2)
Stone/rock and metal
3)
Average (life-size)
4)
Designers
4.1)
Designer 1
Artist/Artistic Group: Lewis, James E.
5)
Fabricators/Builders
Known
5.1)
Fabricator/Builder 1
Roman Bronze Works, Inc. 
5.2)
Fabricator City
New York 
5.3)
Fabricator State
NY 
5.4)
Fabricator Country
United States 
Setting
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1)
Plaza arrangement
4)
Satisfactory
Themes
Not available in ABBREVIATED view
Demography
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1)
Town/City
Baltimore
2)
County
Baltimore
3)
District
Intentionally Blank
4)
State
MD
5)
Zip
21201
6)
Man-made
7)
Citizens/residents
8)
The national existence
Comments and Notes
TITLE ALTERNATES: Black Soldier, Monument to the Black Soldier, Negro Soldier, Negro Soldier Monument
SOURCES: Gregory Kane, “Long-Honored Memorial makes a Prominent Move; New Home Chosen for Statue Honoring Black Soldiers,” Baltimore Sun, January 13, 2007; “Obituary, James E. Lewis,” Baltimore Sun, August 11, 1997; SIRIS, Control Number IAS MD0000590
SPONSOR: Citizen(s)/Resident(s) -- Anonymous gift




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