|City man accepts award for 54th Regiment
By Beth David
BRIDGEWATER -- New Bedford was well represented last night at Bridgewater State College's annual Hall of Black Achievement award ceremony.
New Bedford resident Carl Cruz, a descendant of the locally famous Sgt. William H. Carney, accepted the award on behalf of the 54th Regiment, the all-black unit organized in Massachusetts during the Civil War. Several other descendants of the men of the 54th were among the nearly 200 people who attended last night.
"It really feels good to be able to celebrate the men of the 54th," Mr. Cruz said just before accepting the award. "While I'm a descendant of one of the men, I'm speaking for all the men of the 54th."
To drive home that point, Mr. Cruz's acceptance remarks were made up completely from letters written by members of the 54th, including the Rev. William Jackson, who wrote, "A finer regiment of men has never been enlisted on this continent."
The 54th was officially inducted into the Hall of Black Achievement as part of the evening's celebration of black history.
To celebrate the present, C. Bernard Fulp of Newton received the Mary Hudson Onley Achievement Award, named after a New Bedford woman who was Bridgewater State College's first graduate of color.
"It really feels very, very wonderful to be recognized by a group with this history," Mr. Fulp said before the ceremony. "It's an extraordinary moment to be recognized, or even thought of, along with people who are already in the hall."
Mr. Fulp received an award for his accomplishments in the world of high finance. He places an emphasis on entrepreneurship as a means to achieve the American dream.
"I value lifelong learning," Mr. Fulp said as he received his award.
"It is a singular honor bestowed upon me tonight that carries a special meaning for me," he said.
Sixteen students from across the region were recognized for their achievements.
Among those recognized in years past, there are at least seven with New Bedford ties, including Frederick Douglass and Lewis Temple, who invented the harpoon known as the Temple toggle.
During a desperate charge at Confederate positions at Battery Wagner, Sgt. Carney planted the flag on the parapet and retrieved it when the troops fell back. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
This story appeared on Page A5 of The Standard-Times on February 6, 2005.