On November 14, 1865 U.S. Colored Troops of the Union Army were honored in a Grand Review hosted by the Garnet Equal Rights League and the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The event was held because the 200,000 African-American Patriots—25 of whom had earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for military valor—were not invited to participate in the review of Union troops in Washington, DC at the conclusion of the Civil War.
On November 6, 2010, Harrisburg was again the proud host city for a Grand Review, presented by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office as a Civil War sesquicentennial salute to the valiant men who volunteered for military service after gaining their freedom from slavery. Reenactors from USCT regiments based in various states participated in the march that began from the Pennsylvania state capital, along the Susquehanna River and onto the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion. These photos depict the day's pageantry, USCT reenactor troops and local townspeople in period dress.
In partnership with the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, American Heritage magazine created a special commemorative program for this exceptional event. You may download a copy by clicking here. The program contains essays by historians James Oliver Horton, Harold Holzer, and Henry Louis Gates Jr.; vignettes and details about the history of the gallant men of the USCT and where they are buried, information about their descendants, and the Garnet Equal Rights League based in Harrisburg that created and sponsored the original Grand Review in 1865.
(Photos by John F. Ross)