Maurice Barboza, who began a protracted battle in 1985 for a memorial to honor black soldiers of the Revolutionary War, is now in the home stretch, but facing a fast-approaching deadline.
Barboza and The Patriots Foundation, organized to oversee the project, have steered the project through Congress and lobbied a seemingly endless series of boards and politicians to win approval for a coveted site in Constitution Gardens.
Last February, they won approval from the first of three federal commissions that will rule on the memorial design. But when they reached the second commission, they hit a snag. The United States Commission of Fine Arts sent the planners back to the drawing board, saying their concept needed refining, according to Barboza. They've been working since then, and plan to be back before the commission in February.
The final ingredient is money -- about $6 million to make Barboza's dream a reality. The group has collected about $300,000 so far, according to Barboza, and has received commitments from several corporations to help raise $2.8 million more.
Xerox Corp. officials already are hard at work, Barboza said, and Polaroid Corp. has come on board with a campaign scheduled to start soon in several locations, including the District, in which a percentage of proceeds from product sales will be donated for the memorial.
"We have to get all the approvals and raise all the money by October 1991 . . . or else we're back to square one," Barboza said. "It's a real deadline, but I'm optimistic we'll be able to meet it."