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Sculptor Dwight Moves from Jazz to War

While sculptor Ed Dwight might be well known for his sculptures of jazz greats including Miles Davis (pictured), Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman, he is also a prolific artist whose latest work is for a national war memorial.

The Black Revolutionary War Patriots Foundation is raising money to build the Black Revolutionary War Patriots Memorial, which will be located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

Construction funds will be collected through October of this year, but in the meantime, a scale model of the future memorial is on exhibit at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery through March 18. The exhibit is free to the public and features, in addition to the memorial model, over 70 pieces by Dwight.

According to Dwight, the mall is devoid of something very important: “Anyone who visits the hallowed ground between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial knows there are no memorials there to the contributions of African Americans to the nation’s founding and its democratic principles,” he said in a press release.

Maurice A. Barboza, the memorial project’s founder sees the memorial as a multifaceted addition to the nation’s capital. “This memorial will not only raise awareness of national history, it [will offer] the District of Columbia a forum to promote tourism, the city’s history, and the contributions of its citizens to democratic principles and the preservation of our democracy,” he said in a press release.

And according to Barboza, Dwight is the perfect artist for this project. “Through Ed’s mastery, Americans will come to understand the dignity and determination of tens of thousands of freedom seekers, including patriots, runaway slaves and 5,000 soldiers who persevered from Lexington to Concord to Yorktown,” he said.

Ladda Chang, president of EFA Fundraising, said this exhibit kicks off a series of promotions to raise money for the project. Other events will include a basketball event with the Washington Wizards and a Religious Revival in February at the memorial’s future site.

The memorial features two inwardly curving 90-foot-long walls that form a plaza. As visitors walk through the memorial, figures emerge and grow to life-size, eventually breaking free of the wall facing west toward the Lincoln Memorial. By positioning it near other national symbols, Barboza said “the memorial will tell us that they also were founding fathers and mothers: after all, it was their vision of America that prevailed.”

Dwight, a former Air Force test pilot and astronaut trainee, has created a number of pieces commemorating African Americans and their place in American history. One of his most critically acclaimed collections features works that follow the evolution of jazz as an important contribution to the culture of America. Jazz: An American Art Form traces jazz from its roots in Africa to the modern jazz era. Over 70 bronzes are included in the collection.

“My goal is to use my talents as an artist to bring a multi-racial vibrancy to this nation and its history and make it a beacon, and an example to oppressed people throughout the world,” Dwight said.

The PEPCO Edison Place Gallery is located on 701 Ninth Street NW in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the Black Revolutionary War Patriots Memorial, visit; for more information on Ed Dwight, visit his website at

Originally Published