Black Civil War soldier finally getting overdue honor thanks to junior high student

MIDDLE ISLAND, Long Island (WABC) -- On the day America honors its fallen military members, a soldier who died in the Civil War is finally being remembered.

Albert J. Freeman, from Middle Island, Long Island, was a Black man who volunteered to fight for the Union army in the Civil War.

But it took 157 years and a junior high school sleuth to ensure that Freeman's name was added to the veteran's monument in Middle Island.

Carlie Preudhomme, 13, spent her own time researching Freeman's life and service.

"I'm beyond thankful that I was able to bring Albert J. Freeman's story to life," Preudhomme said.



Freeman's name was sometimes misspelled -- that and a racial bias may have led to his exclusion, a wrong that was righted on Memorial Day. His name is now engraved on the Longwood Civil War Memorial.

"Because of her hard work and dedication, a life given for freedom, for all Americans, has been brave for all to see, question and recognize Albert J. Freeman," said E. James Freeman with Gordon Heights Civic Association.

It's an act that made the community and Preudhomme's parents quite proud.

"Carlie took on this non-grade project like a grain of salt, and it took her five and a half months, but she got his name on that monument and that was her goal -- to get his name on the monument," said her mother Janice Preudhomme.

And Freeman is the first Black Civil War veteran to have his name etched in stone -- with a star that denotes he died in service.

"We couldn't bring Albert Freeman's body home, we officially brought his name home," Carlie said.

It's a lasting tribute that was long overdue.

RELATED | Memorial Day: Local ceremonies, parades honor fallen servicemen and women
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The Tri-State area is honoring our fallen servicemen and women this Memorial Day. And President Biden spoke at Arlington National Cemetery.



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