Andrea Obston Marketing Communications, LLC
Strategically connecting your Business to Everyone
Goals: The Descendants of the Connecticut 29th Colored Regiment C.V. Infantry, is a volunteer-based organization dependent upon both funding and awareness. For ten years, the group raised funds to erect a monument to honor the state's men of color who served during the Civil War. The emotional tribute came over 140 years after more than 900 African-American and Native American soldiers and white officers mustered at the monument's site, New Haven's Criscuolo Park. With the challenge of not only a tight budget but less-than two month time frame, AOMC's mission was to carry the flag for the Connecticut 29th promotionally. Using strong, strategic media relations, the goals included:
Tactics: From the get-go, AOMC recognized that the Descendants' personal journey was a story worth telling. Driven to honor their brave ancestors and share the soldiers' important contributions to American not just African-American history with lasting impact, the Descendants persevered to raise both funding and awareness of a story not-widely known. A & E calendar listings alone touting the events would not do the job of providing the lasting message that their mission deserved. Events draw a crowd but come and go. AOMC's mission was about historic preservation; preserving the moment and its related history in the press' and public's minds. If the Descendants' story and the memory of the soldiers' sacrifices were to resonate and endure, so could funding for more outreach.
AOMC took aim with a strategic campaign that began with interviewing the primary descendant family for insight into their personal story. From there, we wrote a series of integrated press releases, each with a different but connective focus, including one with a personal journey slant. Another was a profile of the monument's acclaimed sculptor, Ed Hamilton, best known for his Spirit of Freedom piece in the nation's capitol. This firm partnered these pieces and others along with comprehensive calendar listings for the events surrounding the monument unveiling and the youth dedication ceremonies. We marched forward with an action plan for pitching and distributing press releases and full press kits. Bolstering our media list, we targeted not only local and regional print and broadcast media, but national niche press in the African-American, Civil War/military history and genealogical genres, from the New York Times to America's Civil War.
At the quick-step, AOMC provided on-site presence at each of the events as well, fielding media who attended and working the cell phones to bring more reporters in, including those from both the Associated Press and New England Cable News.
AOMC stayed on the story, pre, during and post-event, securing more than 50 placements in print, broadcast and internet media. Almost 300 people attended the first Monument Dedication Ceremony events. More than 700 school children and teachers from across the state attended the Youth Dedication Ceremony with Arm Band Parade commemorating the soldiers who served. Coverage on this historic monument made it all the way to Iraq.
With increased awareness so comes increased funding. The Connecticut 29th Regiment's monument expects to secure lighting that will illuminate the monument in New Haven's Criscuolo Park. A possible curriculum for young students is also on the horizon that will also shed further light on the important history of these African-American and Native American Civil War soldiers who fought for freedom. And more people with an ancestral links continue to contact the Descendants of the Connecticut 29th Colored Regiment C.V. Infantry, Inc. to explore their family's roots. The story goes on.
About the Descendants of the Connecticut C 29th Colored Regiment C.V. Infantry, Inc.
The Descendants of the Connecticut 29th Colored Regiment C.V. Infantry, Inc. is a non-profit organization that honors African American and Native American soldiers who fought during the Civil War. The organization promotes cultural awareness of these men of color and their Caucasian officers with an ongoing mission to locate more ancestors of the CT 29th.
Their monument to honor the Regiment will be unveiled in New Haven's Criscuolo Park on September 20, 2008, the site of the Regiment's first encampment. The organization also presents historical and educational programming, makes presentations to schools and is in the first stages of developing a grade-school curriculum for educators to increase awareness of the CT 29th's heroic efforts. Their ongoing fundraising will continue their educational outreach. Based in New Haven, CT, the organization is a 501(c) (3) corporation. For more information, to find out if you have ancestors from the CT 29th Regiment or to donate, visit www.thect29th.org.