February 09, 2023

Rep. Watson Coleman Celebrates Black History Month, Passage of Legislation to Honor Black Revolutionary War Heroes

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 9, 2023) – In observing Black History Month, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) celebrated the passage of her National Liberty Memorial Preservation Act. The Congresswoman’s bill was included in the fiscal year 2023 omnibus funding package that President Biden signed in December.  

The National Liberty Memorial Preservation Act authorizes construction of the National Liberty Memorial, a monument to honor the Black and Indigenous soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War. By the time the Continental Army triumphed over British colonial forces at the Battle of Yorktown, soldiers of color made up nearly a quarter of George Washington’s troops. 

“Black and Indigenous people were among the thousands of soldiers who put everything on the line in the name of freedom for our country. Unfortunately, few Americans today know their story. Too often, the teaching of the American Revolution fails to mention the contributions of Black and Indigenous soldiers, and at worst, it completely erases them from the historical record. By establishing a memorial in their honor, this legislation will rewrite these brave soldiers into the narrative,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. 

“The National Liberty Memorial will serve the important dual purpose of not only honoring the soldiers of color who fought for American independence, but also preserving and protecting Black and Indigenous history. As state legislatures and elected officials across the country seek to whitewash history, this memorial will serve as a reminder that we must never forget the full, honest story of our nation. Only by telling the truth about our past can we pave the way for a more inclusive future,” Congresswoman Watson Coleman continued.  

Congresswoman Watson Coleman’s legislation authorizes National Liberty Memorial Fund D.C., an independent nonprofit organization, to raise funds for and construct the National Liberty Memorial.

“The story of African Americans is inextricably woven to Washington and other founding fathers. Without the 22 memorials to heroes within 880 yards of the White House, there would be no context in which to appreciate the particular nature of their determination and achievements. Our preferred location on the Mall has a panoramic view of the Washington Monument and the opportunity to weave a magnificent story… This symbol will unify the best and the unmentionable parts of history into a singular and sustaining narrative. Tourists flocking to the Mall in four years will be able to affirm the permanency of our democracy and bonds of citizenship,” Maurice Barboza, founder and CEO of the National Mall Liberty Fund D.C., said.