In 1993, The District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities commissioned a new memorial to African-American soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War. The African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation and Museum developed the memorial as well as the African American Civil War Museum, which opened in 2011. The memorial features a sculpture by Ed Hamilton known as the Spirit of Freedom.

The 9-foot bronze statue features three infantrymen and a sailor defending freedom on one side and a soldier with his family on the other. The sculpture is surrounded by a Wall of Honor, inscribed with the names of the African Americans who served in the war. It was completed in 1997 and stands in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C., near Howard University.

The monument is only the second in the United States depicting African-American Civil War servicemen and the first purely in honor of the 209,145 United States Colored Troops (USCT) who served in the Civil War.

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