Military Life

The first African American Veterans Monument is now open

Miguel Ortiz Avatar
African American Veterans Monument

The African American Veterans Monument is now open in Buffalo, New York (Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park)

Since the Revolutionary War, African Americans have fought in the service of the United States. Over the course of American history, African Americans have helped to ensure the freedom and security of the nation. Despite this, it wasn’t until 1948 that segregation was banned in the U.S. military. Moreover, the vital duties that African Americans have performed in military service are often overlooked. In recognition of African American service members past, present, and future, the African American Veterans Monument was built; the first of its kind in the nation.

African American Veterans
Officers of the 366th Infantry Regiment returning home from World War I service.

On September 24, 2022, the African American Veterans Monument was dedicated and unveiled at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park in Buffalo, New York. The event was attended by African American veterans, community leaders, and state and local officials. “The African American Veterans Monument will enhance visitors’ understanding of the diversity in the armed forces throughout American history,” said Robin Hodges, vice chairman of the African American Veterans Monument, at the unveiling. “Visitors will experience a shared history which includes significant achievements of African Americans in all branches of the armed forces.”

African American Veterans Monument ceremony
The ceremony was attended by government officials including the governor of New York (Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office)

The monument was designed by the late Jonathan Casey. It consists of 12 black pillars standing 10 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. Placed in chronological order, each pillar represents the 12 wars that African Americans have fought in from the Revolutionary War to the Global War on Terror. Additionally, the spacing between each pillar represents the time that passed between each conflict. The vision of the monument states, “We strive to restore meaning, and understanding of the indispensable military service of African Americans, which has been omitted from U.S. mainstream narratives and has consequently fallen into obscurity.”