David Blight and student, Ry Walker, address teachers at a monument for the 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.

On June 21, 2017, Gilder Lehrman Center Director David Blight and GLC summer intern Ry Walker (YC 2020) addressed a group of elementary, middle, and high school teachers at a New Haven monument to the 29th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. The teachers were participants in a seminar taught by Prof. Blight called “The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass.” The seminar was organized by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Ms. Walker is a rising sophomore at Yale University. Through the Afro-American Cultural Center’s History Keepers Program, she was interning with the GLC for the month of June.

The 29th and 30th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry were the two African American U.S. Army regiments from Connecticut that fought during the Civil War. At the monument, Prof. Blight and Ms. Walker read sections of a speech delivered on January 29, 1864 by Frederick Douglass to the African American soldiers who assembled at the mouth of the Mill River in the Fair Haven section of New Haven before heading south for Annapolis in March of that year. The monument to these troops is located at the northwestern corner of Criscuolo Park in Fair Haven (at the mouth of the Mill River, corner of Chapel and Mill Streets).

For more information about the monument and regiment, see: Called To Arms In Civil War, Connecticut’s Black Soldiers Respond

For a contemporary account of the Frederick Douglass’ speech to the troops, see: “A Way Mark” in The Connecticut War Record v. 1, no. 7 (February 1864).