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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Crown Hill Cemetery has paid its annual tribute to African-American soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War.

Indiana’s 28th Regiment was among nearly 200 all-black units which fought for the Union. 225 of those African-American soldiers are buried at Crown Hill, though most of them weren’t part of the 28th. A section of Crown Hill is set aside as a national cemetery, owned and supervised by the federal government. Crown Hill spokeswoman Marty Davis says the national cemeteries allowed the government to arrange proper burials for fallen soldiers, even if those burials took place far from home.

About 600 Indianapolis Public Schools fifth and sixth graders shuttled between stages set up in a meadow at the cemetery, listening to reenactors portraying the likes of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Richard Jordan Gatling, who invented and manufactured his namesake gun while living in Indianapolis.

It’s the 24th year IPS has coordinated the Crown Hill trip with the celebration of black soldiers buried there. Pat Payne, IPS’s racial equity director, says it’s critical for students of all races to get a complete picture of the war. She says hearing Douglass or Sojourner Truth describe the grim realities of slavery and the difficulties faced by free blacks allows students to connect with history in a way a textbook alone can’t fully accomplish.