New Yorkers gathered at Grant's tomb Sunday to observe the 192nd birthday of late president Ulysses S. Grant.
The 18th president settled in New York after leaving office in 1877.
Speakers honored Grant as a brave leader of the Union Army during the Civil War as the nation marks the 150th anniversary of the battle.
"General Grant, in fact, was a very key proponent in the war. Obviously, you know, he championed us and led to the war," said Ludger K Balan, a participant in the ceremony. "There was 200,000 black US CTs that fought in the American Civil War, and of that 200,000, 4,000 were right here in New York Harbor."
"He established a path towards civil rights that was subsequently dismantled after he left office," said Ulysses Grant Dietz, a descendent of President Grant. "He doesn't nearly get enough credit for the strength of his presidency."
NY1's Cheryl Wills had the distinct honor to serve at the keynote speaker on behalf of the descendants of the United States Colored Troops.
Park officials said the National Monument is the largest mausoleum in the country, which sees more than 100,000 visitors a year.