Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Courage, Sacrifice, Humanity, Equality - the Soldiers' Memorial in Jefferson City, MO

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt
"I think about 25 colored men of this regiment & Capt Mc, Lt. Anderson, Charlie Bonsall & myself will settle together in Missouri, put up a mill & schoolhouse." - Letter - Lt. Richard Baxter Foster, 62nd USCT, to his wife, March 30, 1865

As a follow up to my previous post (here) about Jefferson City National Cemetery, I happily offer another post about a wonderful place to visit in Missouri's Capital City: The Soldiers' Memorial, at Lincoln University, in honor of the men who served in the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantry.

Indeed, the memorial is only blocks away from the cemetery and is a natural for a combined visit!

The regiments and the university are intimately connected.  According to the official website of Lincoln University:
Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt
Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

At the close of the Civil War, soldiers and officers of the 62nd United States Colored Infantry, stationed at Fort McIntosh, Texas, but composed primarily of Missourians, took steps to establish an educational institution in Jefferson City, Missouri, which they named Lincoln Institute. The following stipulations were set for the school:

1.  The institution shall be designed for the special benefit of the freed African-Americans;
2.  It shall be located in the state of Missouri;
3.  Its fundamental idea shall be to combine study and labor.

Members of the 62nd Colored Infantry contributed $5,000; this was supplemented by approximately $1,400, given by the 65th Colored Infantry. On January 14, 1866, Lincoln Institute was formally established under an organization committee. By June of the same year, it incorporated and the committee became a Board of Trustees. Richard Baxter Foster, a former first lieutenant in the 62nd Infantry, was named first principal of Lincoln Institute. On September 17, 1866, the school opened its doors to the first class in an old frame building in Jefferson City.


There is a plethora of great material on the regiments and the monument on the web...links to a few are provided below:

1) The "Jubilo! The Emancipation Century" blog has an excellent entry on the soldiers, university and monument here
2) Lincoln University holds a collection of Richard Baxter Foster's wartime letters which can be accessed here.
3) A short, but excellent, article, written for the NY Times Diunion blog, on the legacy of the 62nd USCT here (includes a short, but excellent, reading list at the end)
4) The sculptor - Ed Dwight - is a remarkable man: from America’s First African American Astronaut Candidate to Fine Artist, you can learn more about him here.

As you'll see below, the monument has several elements...in Mr. Dwight's words:

"This memorial honors their foresight and vision, featuring Two Soldiers and Capt. Foster, their white commander atop the pedestal, plus a soldier to the rear assisting other soldiers in their climb to academic excellence. This is enhanced by a
bas relief group of soldiers awaiting matriculation and two additional soldiers in full garb trudging across the campus heading to their destiny."


Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt
Add this monument to your must-see list! Enjoy the photos!

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

Soldiers' Memorial - Lincoln University - Photo by Jim Schmidt

1 comment:

Mark Noce said...

Incredible! I've got to see these monuments, they're really well done. Thanks for sharing!