Created By: PocketSights
Artist: J. Otto Schweizer (1863–1955)
Location: Aviator Park, Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 20th Street
The Honorable Samuel Beecher Hart, a Pennsylvania legislator and captain of the Gray Invincibles, the last “colored” unit in the Pennsylvania Militia, proposed a memorial to the state’s African American military men who served the U.S. in wartime. Funds were appropriated in 1927 to construct the memorial, and after much dispute about placing the sculpture on the Parkway, officials agreed on a site in West Fairmount Park. Schweizer placed a “torch of life” surrounded by four American eagles on the top of the sculpture; an allegorical figure of Justice holding symbols of Honor and Reward at the front; groups of African American soldiers and sailors – both officers and enlisted men – to the right and left of the figure of Justice; and at the back side of the sculpture, allegorical figures representing the principles for which American wars have been fought. In 1994, the city relocated All Wars Memorial to a much more visible site on the Parkway as originally proposed – an extraordinary and long overdue event.
Source website at: All Wars Memorial to Colored Soldiers and Sailors (c. 1934)
This point of interest is part of the tour: Civil War Sculptures of Philadelphia