Officials who oversee the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Cleveland have announced that they have verified the service of 140 black Civil War veterans, and will begin adding their names to the monument's wall.
The monument, which was opened in 1894 to honor locals who fought in the Civil War, is located on Public Square. The 125-foot column is topped with a statue of the Goddess of Freedom. Beneath the monument is the Memorial Room, in which the names of 9,000 local residents who served on behalf of the Union are engraved into marble tablets lining the walls. To date, however, just 18 of those 9,000 names are of black soldiers, despite the fact that hundreds of blacks from the region were believed to have enlisted.
Owned by Cuyahoga County, the monument is overseen by a non-profit commission consisting of 11 county-appointed trustees.
The commission hopes to have the 140 names added by late summer or early fall.
In order to be included on the monument wall, one must have enlisted from Cuyahoga County, or have been one of hundreds of local black soldiers and sailors who left the county to serve in regiments based in Massachusetts and other states because Ohio had barred them from serving until 1863. Furthermore, the soldiers must have also been killed in action or have completed their tour of duty to qualify.
In addition to the 140 verified names of black soldiers and sailors, the are also said to be about 60 others who are in the process of being verified.