US Colored Troops sculpture in the works for historic battlegrounds

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As statues across the nation are being taken down,
one artist is working on putting up a monument here in Wilmington.

“These men were fighting for one simple right: to have the freedom of their bodies,” Stephen Hayes said Monday afternoon.  “And that is something that is still going on today to have the freedom of your body.”

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Hayes, the artist behind untold stories of black experiences, will soon unveil another one in the Port City.

“Stephen has actually been working brilliantly with men and women who are actual descendants of us colored troops,” Anne Brennan, Cameron Art Museum Executive Director, said.

Brennan says a monument that reflects the U.S. Colored Troops is is long overdue. She says the museum was battleground site for the Battle of Forks Road, which was won by the Colored Troops and led to the fall of Wilmington. Soon, this sculpture will stand in that same spot.



Hayes says he’s honored to be artist behind this work.

“…to be able to tell these stories and not these myths or putting the wrong side on these pedestals to put another race down..and another race up,” Hayes adds.

Hayes says the sculpture may have features of descendants.

“Particularly loved the opportunity to work with Stephen because of the intimacy of his castings and the hyper naturalism he brings to his process,” Brennan said.

Brennan says this project is just one piece of a much bigger story that needs to be told.

She says the public sculpture is expected to be unveiled in November of next year.