Salem Poor * Oliver Cromwell * Lemuel Haynes * Primas Black * Prince Whipple * Charles Davis * Joshua Dunbar * Samuel Dunbar * Prince Easterbrooks * James Forten * Doss Freeman * Tobias Gilmore * Peter Galloway * Primas Hall * Job Hathaway * Ebenezer Hill * Thomas Hollen * Peter Jennings * Abrose Lewis * Titus Minor * Jerimiah Moho * Pomp Peters * Cato Prince * Esek Roberts * Caesar Sankee * Prince Vaughn * Sipeo Watson * Cuff Whitemore * Jesse Wood * Epheram Black
These are the names of a few of the African American men who served as soldiers in the Revolutionary War. I was trolling around the web, looking for a flag to post on July 4th, until I remembered that "I didn't own a flag", as I stated in yesterday's post. Putting one up on this blog, it seemed, would go against everything I said yesterday.
So I spent a little time on Google and started learning a lot. 5,000 black men served in the Continental Army. 12,000 Blacks served with the British from 1775 to 1783. Since we have a hard time today counting everybody, even with all the technology we've got, if I were you I'd consider these educated guess from culling the records that still survive. In any case, there were significant numbers of black people, from the beginning, who were willing to enlist in the what was essentially a start-up.
African Americans - free, slave, and ex-slave - fought side by side with white colonists seeking independence from British domination. GEORGE WASHINGTON, as Commander of the Continental Army, forbade the enlistment of Blacks - free, slave, or ex-slave - during the early stages of the war. He later learned that the Royal Governor of Virginia, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, was enlisting slaves and indentured servants into the British army with the promise of "freedom to all slaves who would join the King's army." Dunmore's tactic of lifting the ban on Blacks enlisting in the British army led George Washington to change his mind, and, therefore, Blacks later joined the CONTINENTAL ARMED FORCES.
[Excerpted from African American Patriots of the Revolutionary War]
100,000 African Americans either perished or disappeared during the American Revolution. The ones who were left essentially got the okie doke - "okay, boys, y'all put up a good fight. But y'all need to get on back to them fields, ya hear?"
And now, 225 years after the Revolutionary War ended, we have come full circle. We have a man running for the presidency of these United States whose parentage is similar to the original blend between colonial era whites and blacks that produced so many of the soldiers who fought in our inaugural war:
divers freeborne English women forgettfull of their free Condicon and to the disgrace of our Nation doe intermarry with Negro Slaves
[Archives of Maryland, 1:533-34].
Can you get more American than that?
Where is a flag pin when you need one?
Links for more information:
African American Patriots
The Black Patriots
Free African Americans
The Revolution's Black Soldiers
Africans in America: The Revolutionary War