A Public Sculpture by NC Artist Stephen Hayes Commemorating the United States Colored Troops and Their Fight for Freedom
About the project
Cameron Art Museum was the site of the Battle of Forks Road, a Civil War skirmish whose victory was won by the United States Colored Troops (USCT) and led to the fall of Wilmington. Their impact is significant, yet their story is virtually unknown. North Carolina artist Stephen Hayes has fashioned this life-size bronze sculpture from the cast features of 11 African American men connected to the site and its story – USCT descendants, re-enactors, veterans, and community leaders. The sculpture is connected deeply to the community’s history, its present, and its future.
Cameron Art Museum’s mission for their Boundless art installation is to invite descendants of the 1st, 5th, 10th, 27th, and 37th USCT who fought in the Battle of Forks Road in February of 1865, where the Cameron Art Museum stands today, to learn more about their connections to these individuals and their contributions to our country’s history. In support, the ACWM will be hosting a “Call for Descendants” page with the list of soldiers, and feature artifacts from these regiments at our Tredegar site designed to honor USCT soldiers and their descendants. At this intersection of art and history, our museums aim to highlight the stories that embody the bravery and agency of the United States Colored Troops.
To illustrate the intersection between art and history, the ACWM has teamed up with CAM to produce a documentary about “Boundless”. This documentary will (1) demonstrate the historical connection between our institutions, (2) emphasize the significance of USCT descendant stories, and (3) educate viewers about the courage and determination of the United States Colored Troops during a tumultuous period in history.
A special thank you to Cameron Art Museum for inspiring our special exhibition Beyond Valor and for collaborating with us! Be sure to visit ACWM-Tredegar and Cameron Art Museum this summer and prepare to be inspired by the stories and motivations of the USCT who fought for their freedom–Beyond Valor.