fb-pixel Skip to main content

Confederate flag hung from Boston memorial for black soldiers

Melissa Carino pulled down a Confederate flag from the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial across from the State House on Sunday.Justin Saglio for The Boston Globe/Boston Globe

A Confederate battle flag was attached Sunday night to a Boston memorial that commemorates one of the first all-black regiments to fight for the union during the Civil War, hanging there for over an hour before a woman removed it.

Melissa Carino, 37, of Lowell said she saw the flag hanging from the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial across the street from the State House at about 8 p.m. Carino said she left and returned to the location later, angered that it had not been removed.

The 54th Regiment was commissioned by Governor John A. Andrew shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation. It was the inspiration for the 1989 movie “Glory.’’


Late Sunday night, the flag appeared ripped and torn from attempts to remove it. But it remained tied to the monument until 10:30 p.m., when Carino finally untied it and took it down, placing it in a trash can.

RELATED: How the Confederate flag wound up on the statue

“It makes me angry to have to do this in my own town,” she said. “I was like, really? Is that for real?”

A squad car carrying two Boston police officers arrived at the monument at 10:45 p.m., after the flag had been taken down. As a national monument, the memorial is managed by the National Park Service. Earlier in the evening, a Boston police spokesman said he thought the monument was under state jurisdiction while a State Police spokesman said it was on city property.

Timothy Buckley, a spokesman for Governor Charlie Baker’s office, said rangers from the Department of Conservation and Recreation had been notified and were sent to the scene to remove the flag.

The memorial has a history of vandalism. It was splashed with paint in 2012, and a man was arrested for trying to remove a sword from the statue in April 2015.


Passersby expressed displeasure at what they called a racially motivated act, with some citing the outrage over the controversial flag after the murder of black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., earlier this month.

“Such an expression of hate is not acceptable,” said Dara Poulten, 34, of Medway.

“Obviously it’s pretty upsetting to see,” said Jonathan Krieger, 29, of Jamaica Plain. “When somebody puts something in a spot like that, obviously they are trying to send a message, and it’s an upsetting message.”

Globe correspondent Sammy Evers contributed to this report. Niko Emack-Bazelais can be reached at niko.emack-bazelais@globe.com. Jennifer Smith can be reached at jennifer.smith@globe.com.

Correction: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this story mischaracterized the Department of Conservation and Recreation. It is a state agency.