Filmgoers who saw "Glory" know that black soldiers fought well and bravely in the Civil War. What they and others may not know is that no black soldiers were allowed in the 1865 Union Army victory parade down Washington's famed Pennsylvania Avenue.
More than 130 years later, the memory of the 185,000 "United States Colored Troops" who fought in the war was finally honored in Washington. Reenacters recently led their own Pennsylvania Avenue parade and laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. The National Park Service has posted the black soldiers' names on the Internet (www.itd.nps.gov/ cwss/). And 500 people, including Gen. Colin Powell, attended the Sept. 12 dedication of a memorial to the troops that is to be completed next year.
The memorial will feature the names of the soldiers and their 7,000 white officers on a semicircular, three-foot-high stone wall located in Washington's Shaw neighborhood.
Boston, the home of Col. Robert Gould Shaw and many members of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry represented in "Glory," has long had a Beacon Hill memorial to those African-American troops. It's about time there was a memorial to black Civil War soldiers in the nation's capital as well.