Ivers Square – United States Colored Troop Statue
The Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) has awarded a grant of $10,000.00 to Old Town Cape, Inc. in support of the Ivers Square United States Colored Troop Statue. The MHC is the only statewide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. It has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971.
Efforts to install a statue of a United States Colored Troops soldier in Ivers Square are completed due in large part to the diligence and hard work of community historian, Denise Lincoln. Lincoln’s focus has been to recover the region’s African-American Civil War history. In addition to numerous lectures, Lincoln proposed and lobbied for a highly detailed figurative statue to be installed in honor of and symbolic of the contributions of the U.S. Colored Troop soldiers who enlisted in Cape Girardeau, 1863 – 1864.
The statue, created by award-winning sculptor and artist Roy W. Butler, along with associated interpretive signage, is meant to complement the renovations and physical improvements to the courthouse grounds, recently renamed Ivers Square, honoring the memory of Pvt. James Ivers, 56th U.S. Colored Infantry, and his wife Harriet.
Dr. Steven Hoffman oversaw the project as the project director. Dr. Hoffman, professor of history in the Department of History and Anthropology at Southeast Missouri State University and board member of Old Town Cape, Inc., advised and assisted in developing interpretive panels that interpret four major topics: the history of James and Harriet Ivers, the compelling story of the other enslaved individuals who enlisted at the courthouse, the role of Missouri’s U.S. Colored Troops in the war effort, and the history of the existing Union and Confederate memorials on the site thereby providing a larger context for those memorials. Bonnie Kipper, representative of the Cape Girardeau Historic Preservation Commission, also assisted with the project.
The project acknowledged and celebrated the historic contribution of Cape Girardeau’s African-American community and added accurate balance to the Civil War story and memorials placed at our one of our city’s most historic sites by previous generations.
Read more from community historian, Denise Lincoln, in the link below.