“The USCT Monument in Natchez stands out as a beacon of historical reckoning and truth in a state where monuments to the Confederacy pay homage to the Lost Cause. In advancing this memorial to black soldiers who fought in the United States Army during the Civil War, many of whom had been enslaved, the citizens of Natchez are helping to correct the narrative that has so long plagued the South. In doing so, they honor brave men who fought not only for their personal freedom, but for the freedom of the four million enslaved men, women, and children who helped build our nation. It is a memorial that should be embraced by locals and tourists alike.”
“Over 3000 black men served in Natchez during the Civil War. Their service helped to end the war and free enslaved people. This memorial for the Natchez Colored Troops, not only serves to honor their sacrifice and service, but hopefully to help to build relationships across racial lines. What a great way to empower our next generation to build trust and respect for one another as we work to make a better Natchez.”
“A monument recognizing and honoring the sacrifices of USCT soldiers is critical to providing a more accurate and meaningful remembrance of the Civil War. Benjamin Harrison, while President-elect, even made the point that USCT regiments were important contributors to the war. For me, I have always wondered why there aren't more monuments to honor the USCT, which in turn, honors their communities and visibly proves their importance to American history, then and now.
Personally, I'm excited to learn about the work that your organization is doing to honor USCT regiments. I hope that others can follow your endeavors to recenter conversation on the Black military experience. I'm also thrilled to see that you are looking for the descendants of the soldiers as well because their histories are just as important.”
“I think this is such a wonderful project. It is important that we accurately tell the stories of the people who went before us – it is part of our great cultural heritage – and we must strive to always tell the whole story. It is exciting to work toward gathering information that will help people connect to their ancestors, so that they are not forgotten. The United States Colored Troops Monument is a wonderful way to preserve the memory of these brave souls.”
“This monument will tell a more inclusive story of the history of Natchez which is long overdue.”
“The fact that we do not already have a monument to these American patriots is surprising in some ways, not so surprising in others. . . . It is time we present a complete history to the best of our ability — good, bad, ugly, beautiful, poignant or indifferent.
It is time we honor those 3,000 courageous Black men, who were part of the 178,000 in the U.S. Colored Troops fighting to preserve the United States and fighting for their own freedom. Of that 178,000, more than 36,000 died in combat. This project is one we should all embrace.
This is not Black history or white history. It’s Natchez history. It’s our history. Let’s tell it, learn from it, and become one from it.”
“We at NAPAC are excited about the Natchez USCT Monument Project. We feel those members of the USCT served an important role in this city’s history as they have helped to preserve what we have today.”
“Here in Natchez, over 3,000 men valiantly served in regiments with the U.S. Colored Troops. Their stories are inspiring, especially their connection to the Forks of the Road Slave Market, where many of them had formerly been imprisoned. In 1863, members of the 58th Regiment were ordered to tear down Forks of the Road. They utilized salvaged materials, timbers that formerly contained them as human chattel, to construct Fort McPherson, a major fortification in North Natchez. . . . This monument will be a significant step forward for all of us.”
“The southwest Mississippi city of about 15,000, which gained its initial wealth and power from plantations worked by enslaved Black people, has long celebrated its Confederate heritage with dress-up pageantry. But in recent years, it has started publicly grappling with its history, including as the site of the second largest domestic major slave market in the Deep South at Forks of the Road. Now, organizers of the town hall (Natchez USCT Monument Committee) believe it should celebrate local Black soldiers’ role in the downfall of the Confederacy and the liberation of enslaved Black southerners.”
“The USCT Monument Project will help tell a fuller picture of our state’s history. The story of these men, who gained their freedom and then fought to free others, should inspire all Mississippians. For too long, our state’s monument landscape has not truthfully reflected the richness of our past. Vital stories have not received the attention they deserved. This important project will make Natchez a statewide leader in the effort to retell Mississippi’s story in an accurate and inclusive way.”