Rioters outraged by death of George Floyd mistakenly vandalize a statue dedicated to African-American heroes

While protesting the death of George Floyd, vandals unwittingly desecrated a statue that honours African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War to end slavery.


While protesting the unlawful death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, vandals unwittingly desecrated a statue that honours brave African-American soldiers who fought and died in service to their nation.

There were 16 monuments that were defaced in and around the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall on Sunday night. This destruction of public property was in protest of racial discrimination, but in so doing, they vandalized a monument dedicated to the memory of those African-American soldiers who fought to end slavery during the Civil War.

"The Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial was one of the 16 public art works damaged when thousands of protesters swarmed Boston Common on Sunday night," according to WBUR.

The sculpture had received a grant of $3 million for restoration reasons last week, and is a site that is frequently visited by school trips.

“The conservator’s recent prep work protected the front of the bronze relief with plywood, but its granite backside was vandalized with four-letter words and phrases including ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ and ‘Police are Pigs,’” the outlet added.

The monument that was created to revere African-American citizens was defaced by those allegedly advocating for black lives exactly 123 years after the monument was dedicated.

"This monument is considered one of the nation's greatest pieces of public art and the greatest piece to come out of the Civil War," Liz Vizza, executive director of the Friends of the Public Garden, said.

Vizza mentioned that the defaced sculpture represents those soldiers of color, "which I want to lift up."

"How do we help people understand the power in these monuments?" She asked.

It appears that the violent rioters and those vandalizing the monuments did not take into consideration what the monuments actually mean or stand for, but maintained indifference in their efforts to deface and destroy.

WBUR briefly described the history of the statue: "The Shaw Memorial captures the likenesses of the first African American volunteer infantry unit – the 54th Massachusetts Regiment – that fought after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Their colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, advocated for the men to join the war because they desperately wanted to fight for freedom. If the soldiers had been captured in battle they could have been enslaved or killed. Their heroic story was recounted in the 1989 Hollywood film 'Glory.'"

Statues of Abigail Adams, a memorial to victims of 9/11, a monument to Soldiers and Sailors, and a statue of George Washington were among those public art works that were vandalized.


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