New statue at Cameron Art Museum honors U.S. Colored Troops

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WWAY) — Hundreds of people visited the Cameron Art Museum  on Saturday,  to witness the unveiling of a sculpture and exhibit of work representing African-Americans in the cape fear and the country.

The United States Colored Troops public statue “Boundless” sits on the site where the civil war battle of forks road took place on the grounds of the Cameron Art Museum.

The statue was crafted by artist and Duke University Professor Stephen Hayes, and features the life casts of 11 African-American men connected to the Battle of Forks Road, including U.S. Colored Troops descendants, reenactors, veterans, and local community leaders.

Event attendees Daisy Wooten, and Yvonnia Johnson, said  they were deeply moved by the statue when it was unveiled.

“It made me feel like I was really proud of those who fought for our freedom, because like they said freedom isn’t free,” said Daisy Wooten, event attendee.

“It and also it inspired me, to be able to meet the individuals and some of their family members who are here and still living. I just could not imagine what they went through, so it’s just so nice to have that story to be passed on from generation to generation,” said Yvonnia Johnson, event attendee.

The unveiling event also had music, storytelling, food trucks and free admission to the museum, giving attendees a chance to see ‘Voices of Future’s Past’, Hayes’ new exhibit that explores issues of race and economics in the united states.

One couple shared they believe “Boundless” and ‘Voices of Future’s Past’ will draw the attention of many outside of the Cape Fear.

“It’s a great way to, when you do have visitors, I was thinking myself I have a place to take them and kind of show them a beautiful statue of what really occurred here in Wilmington,” said Fred Atkinson, event attendee.

“Because if you don’t talk about the history it’s forgotten, and information like this needs to be given all across America, all really across the world,” said Cynthia Atkinson, event attendee.

Artist Stephen Hayes said he was thankful for a chance to create the piece that was well welcomed and appreciated by those who attended its unveiling.

“This is something that’s going to help create conversation. This is the first of its kind and to have it here should be a sense of pride. You know, and may be a destination where be people come and check it out,” said Stephen Hayes.

Heather Wilson, the museum’s deputy director, said she is glad the museum serves as a location in the community where people can connect with history through art.

“Art has this ability to ask questions, to spark dialogues, and I think it’s a safe medium for us to connect, right, and find our common humanity,” said Heather Wilson, CAM deputy director.

The names of 1,820 United States Colored Troops soldiers who fought at the Battle of Forks Road will be permanently inscribed on the boundless sculpture in December.

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