African American Civil War Memorial Launches Fundraiser to Repair Bullet Damage

2/21/2014, 11:24 a.m.
A bullet indentation is visible on the Wall of Honor at the African-American Civil War Memorial after shots were fired on U Street in Northwest in late December. Photo by Khalid Naji-Allah

In response to the vast outpouring of support and concern about the recent shooting at the African American Civil War Memorial, the nonprofit foundation that built the memorial and operates a museum at the site is sponsoring Rally on the High Ground, a national fund-raising drive to fix the gun damage and other major problems associated with the memorial.

The Memorial Wall of Honor was damaged Dec. 26 incident during an exchange of gunfire between two people, police said. No one was injured in the incident.

The total cost of repairs at the site is roughly $575,000.

Beverly Perry, chairperson of the board of directors for the African American Civil War Freedom Foundation, said "it is our goal to raise the funds necessary and 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."

The memorial is the nation's way of paying tribute to the 209,145 African-American Union Soldiers who bravely stood up with President 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 museum continues to operate the adjacent museum with private funds.

The two names on the memorial that were damaged by gunfire were Lt. Adolph Ebermayer, one of the officers in the 121st mustered into the Union Army in September 1864 in Louisville, Ky., and Henry Foster, a private in the 121st regiment. Army records show that Pvt. Foster enlisted in the USCT at the age of 20 and had dark hair, dark eyes complexion and stood 5'5". 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 tw 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 African American Civil War Memorial and Museum.

The following is a detailed list of needed repairs and estimate of cost:

— Repair gun damage to Plaque number 124, 121st USCT from the state of Kentucky, and resurface and restore all remaining plaques on the Wall of Honor - $125,000

— Repair all damage done by skate boarders and place anti-skating devices on walls and around the Spirit of Freedom statue. - $75,000

— Repair and replace all lighting on monument and surrounding areas, and replace missing spotlight on city light pole. - $125,000

— Complete final installation of soldier relief panels on parapet surrounding metro stop, place flag pole at corner and install graphic arts panels on gym wall at Garnet Patterson School as per Duke Plan (see attachment 2). - $125,000

— Revivify all grass areas, plants and shrubbery - $125,000

The African American Civil War Memorial allows the nation to finally pay tribute to the gallant acts of the African-American soldiers of the Civil War, who answered when America called for help. These troops brought an end to slavery and reunited a torn country. The nation deserves an opportunity to honor their sacrifices.

The African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation raised public awareness and found the funds necessary to build the nation's only monument to the 209,145 black soldiers and their white officers who joined President Lincoln in the Civil War to end slavery and keep America united under one flag. The monument is located in the Shaw area of D.C., which is named for Col. Robert Gould Shaw, Mass. 54th.

Persons interested in joining the Rally on the High Ground may do so by making a tax-deductible donation or future pledge by mailing the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation, 1925 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20001 (include "memorial repairs" in memo section), or online at www.afroamcivilwar.org.