United States Colored Troops Memorial Park

Wilmington, NC

This permanent installation commemorates the United States Colored Troops (USCT) who fought at the Battle of Forks Road near Fort Fisher during the Civil War. The park is designed around the impactful new statue by Stephen Hayes, Boundless, featuring 11 soldiers whose faces were made from life masks of descendants of USCT veterans. During the Battle of Forks Road, 1,600 members of the USCT overwhelmed Confederate defenses and marched to Wilmington.

The park design features Corten steel elements which will rust and stain the ground as a symbolic gesture for the blood spilled at the battle. The stainless steel signage will remain untarnished like the truth represented in the monument. The site contains 30 “chairs” of folded steel, dispersed throughout the landscape at varying distances but always facing the sculpture, so that each person faces the truth from an individual perspective. The chairs are deliberately uncomfortable, as the Civil War is an uncomfortable moment in our shared history. Outdoor Illuminations designed the lighting so that the sculpture will blaze at night, the ghostly seats will glow, and a path will be illuminated through the darkness.

RECOGNITIONS: 2023 AIA Aspire Design Award, Citation