About

Lt. Benny White founder of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment Company-A

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Company A, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of Union Army reenactors. Six of the founders were descendants of 54th MVI veterans. Company A is affiliated with the 54th MA Volunteer Regiment (Headquarters and Company C) which was reactivated in 2009 as an element of the MA Army National Guard and serves as the Honor Guard command of the Commonwealth.

We are a 100% volunteer organization committed to preserving the history of the brave African American soldiers who served in the United States military during the Civil War and trained at Camp Meigs in the Readville section of Hyde Park, a neighborhood of Boston.

Our members authentically interpret the life of soldiers and officers and serve as a living monument to commemorate and honor the men who gave up their lives and health in service of their country. Today, other groups reenacting various companies of the 54h MVI are located in the cities of Washington, DC; Springfield, MA; Atlanta, GA; and Charleston, SC.

Our company first formed in 1990 when interested parties met and created the 54th Massachusetts Glory Brigade. An auxiliary group was formed in cooperation with the regiment called the Colored Ladies Christian Relief Society which was modeled after the Civil War-era Ladies of the Blue Hills Aid Society. Two infantry regiments and one cavalry regiment of black soldiers were raised in Massachusetts to fight in the Civil War. The regiments were trained in the Camp Meigs military camp in Readville, Massachusetts.

Since the founding of the reenacting groups they have continuously functioned to preserve and reenact the history of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry regiment of black American volunteers and the women’s group that supported them in the US Civil War.

For 25 years, through education, ceremonial activities, parade participation, and classroom visits, we have brought history to life as accurately and authentically as possible. People who experience our living history exhibits gain a better understanding and appreciation of the 54th’s heritage and history. We also aim to be a continual source of pride for Boston and for Hyde Park specifically.

More than 300 reenactors have been members in the organization and currently there are 20 active members.

We operate under the direction of a Board of Directors, guided by our organizational by-laws. Membership is open to any citizen and members are expected to fill appropriate historical roles.

Looking Ahead

The 54th Infantry, Company A maintains a collection of historical artifacts related to its service. While these material items are popularly received at various public and school presentations, such valuable relics deserve a more secure environment to ensure that they will be preserved for generations to come.

Therefore, the Company A leadership is committed to working with the concerned members of the local and state community to realize this great goal: To obtain exhibit and office space in Hyde Park that commemorates the place where over 3,000 African American troops originally trained and prepared to serve Commonwealth and country.

A permanent location will effectively preserve this important part of the City of Boston’s history. Creating an exhibition space would expand our efforts to inspire city youth with historical role models. As a landmark location of Civil War history, it will be a draw for tourists and educators from across the nation. Finally, this will serve as a beacon to all of the neighborhoods and communities of Boston helping people to more readily connect with Hyde Park’s history.

The 54th Infantry, Company A volunteers and the Friends of the 54th Regiment deeply believe in the importance of preserving the history of people of color who selflessly served and gave their all during the Civil War. We share a tremendous amount of pride in the work that we do and the city we serve. We firmly believe that with sufficient resources, we will adequately continue a legacy of heroism and education. To this end, we look to local community businesses and individuals to invest in this dynamic organization that promises to maintain the vitality of this incredible facet of Massachusetts and American history. Your gift will help achieve the accomplishment of the on-going mission of the 54th Regiment that these brave soldiers and their families began in 1863.