8th Infantry Illinois National Guard Association

Victory Monument

Towards the end of Word War 1, movements to honor the achievements of the Eighth Regiment of the United States National Guard within Chicago's African American community began.

The African American community proposed the creation of a permanent monument in the parkway of Grand Boulevard (now Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr.) to show honor to the servicemen from the surrounding area. Stiff opposition met the proposal, but was not defeated. The community was enraged by the response, as well as the lack of employment and decent housing for the returning soldiers.

Community Members joined in urging others to protest until proper recognition of the community's heroes was met.

Eventually, their campaign took effect. In 1926, Leonard Crunelle erected the Victory Monument. It was dedicated to the 8th Infantry on Armistice Day, November 11, 1928. In 1936, the sculpture of a uniformed African American Soldier (the "doughboy") was added on the top.

The Victory Monument is located in the center median of the intersection of 35th and King Drive. It is the kick-off location for the Annual "Bud Biliken Day" parade as well as the gathering site of the members of the "Fighting Eighth" for the Annual Memorial Day ceremony. The Victory Monument is the first monument erected by a state to honor black soldiers who had served in the war.