African American Heritage Trail – Cemetery Icons

February 1, 2013

In addition to the gravesites of individual African Americans buried at Mount Auburn, monuments throughout the Cemetery stand as reminders of the Cemetery’s deep associations to racial justice. They include memorials to Charles Sumner, Julia Ward Howe, and George Luther Stearns, white men and women who gave their hearts and souls to the abolitionist movement. Memorials of the fight for equality appear in other forms that rank among the Cemetery’s most iconic symbols: the statue Hygeia, by Edmonia Lewis, the great nineteenth-century African American sculptor; the cenotaph of Col. Robert Gould Shaw, who led the 54th Massachusetts Regiment; and the Sphinx, the Cemetery’s magnificent memorial to the Civil War.

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Funding for this project has been provided by the 1772 Foundation; Mass Humanities; the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (made possible by the National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom); the Cambridge Arts Council and the Watertown Cultural Council (local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency); and contributions from Sydney Nathans, Mary K. Zervigon, and the family of Katherine Knox.

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