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127th Regiment US Colored Troops flag.jpg

This undated photo provided by Morphy Auctions shows a 127th Regiment United States Colored Troops battle flag in Denver, Pa. The flag was carried into battle by one of the 11 black Union regiments during the Civil War, and is going up for auction in Pennsylvania. The flag was painted by David Bustill Bowser, an African American artist who was a member of one of the regiments and the son of a fugitive slave. (Morphy Auctions via AP)

(Denver, Pa.) — A flag that was carried into battle by a black Union regiment during the Civil War and hand-painted by an acclaimed African American artist will join one of the country’s most comprehensive Civil War collections.

The Atlanta History Center bought the flag at auction Thursday for $196,800, making it the largest purchase the center has paid for an artifact.

Morphy Auctions was selling off the flag in Pennsylvania.
It depicts a black soldier waving goodbye to Columbia, the white female personification of America, beneath a banner reading, “We Will Prove Ourselves Men.”

It’s one of 11 painted by David Bustill Bowser, the son of a fugitive slave. It’s the only known surviving flag.

Center President and CEO Sheffield Hale said the flag “doesn’t need words to tell you what it is and what it represents.”