D.C. City Council Chairman David A. Clarke launched a local campaign yesterday to support construction of a $2.5 million "memorial to black patriots and freedom fighters" of the Revolutionary War.
The local effort is part of a national campaign, which will be launched in Washington on the Fourth of July, Clarke said at a news conference in the District Building.
In the District, the project is being headed by the Black Revolutionary War Patriots Foundation, formed by Maurice Barboza, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and Lena S. Ferguson, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The DAR already is involved in identifying the black soldiers.
Barboza called the memorial "a lasting honor to the more than 5,000 black patriots of the American Revolution. There are no statues in Washington, no motion pictures and no Fourth of July speeches extolling their bravery."
The group is hoping that Congress will approve construction of a memorial site on the federal Mall, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
If a bill introduced by Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) passes, the foundation will have five years to raise the $2.5 million needed to build the monument.
Clarke, who will serve on the Foundation's National Advisory Board, was flanked yesterday by representatives from several groups that will be involved in the local campaign, including the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Federation of Civic Associations.
Also present was Sarah M. King, president general of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, who also will serve on the foundation's board.