Monuments and memorials to black military history, 1775-1891.

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Mcglone, John
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Middle Tennessee State University
This dissertation presents, first, a general survey of black military history to provide historical context, and second, the results of a nationwide search for monuments and memorials, including any cultural or national artifact or site, dedicated to the military service of blacks. The study is limited to service of blacks in the continental United States.
This work is organized into an introductory chapter of the history of monuments and the need to understand historical context in order to appreciate the nature of a monument. This is followed by three chapters presenting the history of blacks in the American military from the colonial era to the end of the Indian campaigns in 1891. The next chapter deals with a nationwide search to discover the existence of monuments and memorials to black soldiers. A traditional academic search provided information for the history of monuments and black military service. In order to locate monuments to that service a nationwide survey, including contacts with State Historic Preservation Offiers, state historical societies, museums, special interest groups, historians of the black experience, and other concerned groups and individuals, was conducted. The major findings of the study revealed some form of memorialization in at least half of the states of the continental United States, as diverse as a mountain pass in Nevada, a state park in California, an outdoor sculptured monument in South Carolina, and a battlefield in Rhode Island. There is still a negative discrepancy between the numbers of blacks who served and the monuments which exist to their service, an issue it is hoped this dissertation will partially resolve.
The final chapter of conclusions and recommendations discusses findings concerning historic preservation surveys in the United States, including the development of a survey form to record information concerning monuments. The role of both the public and private sectors in the preservation of monuments is discussed as well as the leadership role of the National Park Service in the preservation and the physical conservation of cultural resources. Finally, a discussion presented possible future use of the computer as a tool to collect, record, and disseminate information concerning monuments.