Art@Site Leonard Crunelle Victory Monument

Leonard Crunelle


Victory Monument

35th Street, King Drive
This structure was erected to honor the achievements of the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, an African-American unit that served in France during World War I as part of the 370th U.S. Infantry.
The bronze sculpture was made by Leonard Crunelle. He was born in France in a coal-mining town that was destroyed in World War I. He was a student of noted Chicago sculptor Lorado Taft. The granite column and architectural setting of the monument were a collaborative design of Crunelle and John Nyden, a Chicago architect.
The original granite and bronze monument was erected in 1927. It was dedicated on Armistice Day [November 11th] in 1928. The soldier on top was added in 1936 and dedicated to all the Black soldiers who died in the war. It first state-sponsored memorial to African-American veterans of World War I. The monument is the site of an annual Memorial Day ceremony.
Victory Panel. Left full-length profile of a Classically draped African-American female figure representing motherhood. In her hand she holds a branch symbolizing Victory
Columbia Panel. Full-length Classically draped female figure with a helmet on her head. In her left hand she holds a tablet on which is inscribed with the names of battles in which African-American soldiers fought.
African-American Soldier Panel. A bare chested African-American soldier of the 370th Infantry, standing with an eagle in front of him.
The doughboy. The statue atop the monument was added in 1936 .. the soldier is carrying an American Springfield rifle and wearing the standard U.S. Army helmet of 1917-18. However, the men of the 370th Infantry would more likely have been carrying the French Label rifle and wearing the French"Adrian" helmet in the actions in which they were engaged.
Honor Roll of the Dead. Names of 137 members of the Eighth Infantry, Illinois National Guard, who lost their lives during World War I.