From the Worcester NAACP:
The City of Worcester cordially invites the public to the dedication of the Citizens of Color World War II Honor Roll …
… 1 pm, Thursday, December 7
… at Lincoln Square
Please join the City of Worcester in commemorating this great moment of history!
And … FROM RON!
Worcester’s long forgotten heroes honored at last!🗽🗽
By Ron O’Clair
Today marked the installation of the “people of color” monument at Lincoln Square at the footing of Belmont Street. The original monument was installed on Belmont Street near where the I-290 overpass is located today.
The fact was, the original monument had to be removed for the construction of I-290 and was subsequently forgotten about, since 1958.
It was an oversight no doubt and was not re-erected after the highway was completed.
When I first heard about it through William Coleman, being a veteran myself, I was one of the people who spoke to the Worcester City Council urging that this oversight be corrected and the monument restored to honor those people of color who served in the World War II from Worcester.
The City Council was unanimous in support of fast tracking the restoration of the monument with great support from City Councilor Morris Bergman throughout the proceedings resulting from that City Council meeting.
I heard many people say that this type of thing may have been racially motivated, knowing that times were different then, but I truly believe it was not intentional, and that it simply got lost in the shuffle of the upheaval that constructing the Interstate through our city entailed. Entire neighborhoods were demolished, including the Laurel/Clayton neighborhood where the monument had stood. We lost many important architectural buildings, schools and businesses during that period of change. Worcester has always been a staunch believer in the rights of all people to live free and was an important historical stop on the underground railroad that helped escaped slaves reach freedom.
Our history is replete with examples of our inherent sense of fair play as regards equality, so much so, that I find it difficult to give credence to rumors of indifference on behalf of the previous City Administrations.
Regardless, the monument is now erected and honors those who served from Worcester who happened to be of color.
It is good to see that these people are not lost to History any longer.
Ron O’Clair, former Staff Sergeant E/5 USAFR, salutes the memory of our service men and women of color who served their community with honor so long ago!