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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A new historical marker now stands on the side of Market Street in Wilmington. It honors the Civil War efforts of slaves and free blacks who fought in the Port City.

“Nothing has ever been done to give any honor or recognition to these men here, so I only seen fit that something be done,” historical marker project chair Frederick Johnson said.

Johnson is a Korean War vet and proud American. He came up with the idea to honor the men who served as United States Colored Troops in the Civil War.

Sonya Bennetone is the great granddaughter and great grand niece of three of those men.

“The reason the slaves were freed is because they needed the man power, and we feel so empowered that the United States Colored Troops had a big part in turning the Civil War around,” Bennetone.

About 500 US Colored Troops are thought to be buried in Wilmington. Ninety-two members, 88 black soldiers and four white officers, are buried in Wilmington National Cemetery. The historical marker now stands outside its gates.

“They have a section here basically where the blacks are buried at, and the part I like about it is it’s on a hill. It’s on a hill, and that makes me feel even better. Although they may be near the back of the cemetery, but they’re on a hill, high, looking down,” Johnson said.

“It’s very empowering, makes you feel good about being an American, you know, that it means something, being an American in the United States,” Bennetone said.

The unveiling ceremony is also part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, which remembers the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest7969

    Do we ALL feel better now? Is the healing over?

  • Dee102

    Apparently, you don’t. Those soldiers deserve recognition just the same as any war veterans. We should be grateful for the sacrifices they made.

  • Guest Apu

    Are we still calling them colored? I though that was outdated?

  • someone

    That was the official name of the troop. Colored was the polite term in the 19th century.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    I see these things all over the state and half of them are big “So whats/Who cares?” Somebody’s duaghter or grandson wanted the old boy remembered, and made the right contribution. Or we had a little extra money one year and had to spend it somewhere. I especially like the ones that aren’t even at the right spot – “George Washington slept a half-mile East of here on his farewell tour.”

    Whoa! Be still, my beating heart.

    These men died preserving the union. It’s only fitting that we have an easily visible reminder of their sacrifice.

  • Guest7969

    You see…I don’t give people props for their color…I reflect/remember those troops that lost their lives…just not for their color. I hate to tell you…I’ve BEEN over it…don’t give slavery a second thought….


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