WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) applauded passage of his legislation with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to create the National Liberty Memorial out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The bipartisan and bicameral legislation extends authorization of the National Liberty Memorial, a monument to commemorate enslaved and free African Americans who fought in the United States Revolutionary War, and allows the nonprofit established to construct the monument to continue its important work.

“More than 800 African Americans from Connecticut fought in the Revolutionary War, risking their lives for a country that would not recognize them as full citizens for nearly another century,” said Murphy. “The National Liberty Memorial will be a spot where future generations can learn about their sacrifice and honor their bravery and patriotism. Today’s vote was an important step forward towards making this monument a reality, and I look forward to a vote soon on the Senate floor.”

Murphy first became involved in the effort after former U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Joseph Lieberman successfully led the fight to pass legislation that, in 2013, was signed into law by President Obama and authorized construction of the new memorial. At least 820 African American soldiers served in the Revolutionary War from Connecticut.

Efforts to establish the National Liberty Memorial began when Lena Santos Ferguson, an African American woman from Plainville, CT, sought to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. The settlement of her claim of discrimination in 1984 obligated DAR to identify and publish the names of every Black soldier and patriot of the Revolutionary War.  Finally, the research Mrs. Ferguson insisted upon was published in 2008.  More than 5,000 enslaved and free African Americans were identified in a 900-page volume. Ferguson’s nephew, Maurice Barboza, the memorial's founder, and her lawyers, worked with Mrs. Ferguson, until her death in 2004 and beyond, to ensure the integrity of the eventual research and that as many deserving patriots are honored for the creation of the United States.

The National Liberty Memorial will be built by National Memorial Liberty Fund D.C., a private nonprofit established to lead the effort to raise donations and construct the memorial near the National Mall in Washington, D.C.