Great Contributions By Crucial Black Patriots in the American Revolution for Liberty, Black History is American History
February, for Black History month, is the perfect time to remind the world that Black Americans have significant contributions and ownership in the American dream that goes back to the founding of the country.
As a Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR) it is my great pleasure and honor to remind readers of the importance of embracing our early American history and remembering the sacrifices of notable patriots.
It is curious why educational leaders do not inform all school children about the sacrifices that all Americans made for the liberty and freedom they enjoy.
THIS IS YOUR COUNTRY KIDS AND YOUR ANCESTORS FOUGHT FOR IT
“Historians estimate that between 5,000 and 8,000 African-descended people participated in the Revolution on the Patriot side, and that upward of 20,000 served the crown,” according to History.com.
So, consider the bravery and patriotism of those who participated as Sons and Daughters of Liberty. Let’s remember their stories.
Crispus Attucks, Martyr
Crispus Attucks, whom many historians credit as the first man to die for the rebellion, became a symbol of black American patriotism and sacrifice. In 1770, as tension mounted between British and colonial sailors in Massachusetts ports, distrust and competition among them grew. These pressures came to a head on March 5th, when an angry confrontation turned into a slaughter known as the Boston Massacre.
Salem Poor, Patriot Soldier
Salem Poor began life as a Massachusetts slave and ended it as an American hero. Born into bondage in the late 1740s, he purchased his own freedom two decades later for 27 pounds, the equivalent of a few thousand dollars today. Soon after, Poor joined the fight for independence.
The First Rhode Island Regiment, Integrated Revolutionary Force
The First Rhode Island Regiment, the first Continental Army unit largely comprised of New England blacks, showcased African Americans’ skill as soldiers and commitment to their brethren on the battlefield. In the late 1770s, dwindling manpower forced George Washington to reconsider his original decision to ban blacks from the Continental Army. So in 1778, a Rhode Island legislature declared that both free and enslaved blacks could serve. To attract the latter, the Patriots promised freedom at the end of service.
Phyllis Wheatley, Patriot Poet
Phillis Wheatley was a revolutionary intellectual who waged a war for freedom with her words. Captured as a child in West Africa, then taken to North America and enslaved, Wheatley had an unusual experience in bondage: Her owners educated her and supported her literary pursuits. In 1773, at around age 20, Wheatley became the first African American and third woman to publish a book of poetry in the young nation. Shortly after, her owners freed her.
Influential colonists read Wheatley’s poems and lauded her talent. Her work, which reflected her close knowledge of the ancient classics as well as Biblical theology, carried strong messages against slavery and became a rallying cry for Abolitionists: “Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain, /May be refin’d and join th’ angelic train.
Peter Salem, Colonial Hero
Peter Salem is best known for his crucial contributions at the outset of the Revolution. Born into slavery in Massachusetts in the mid-18th century, Salem joined the Patriots in the earliest battles of the war, participating as a “minute man” at Lexington and Concord. His owners supported this decision and freed him so that he could remain enlisted.
Salem earned his place in history for his role in one the most important Revolutionary War fights, the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill.
James Armistead Lafayette, the Double Agent
During the Revolution, James Armistead’s life changed drastically—from an enslaved person in Virginia to a double agent passing intel, and misinformation, between the two warring sides. When Armistead joined the Patriots’ efforts, they assigned him to infiltrate the enemy. So he pretended to be a runaway slave wanting to serve the crown, and was welcomed by the British with open arms. At first they assigned him menial support tasks, but he soon became a more strategic resource due to his vast knowledge of the local terrain.
These are but a few of the stories of crucial Black Patriots and their contributions that all Americans should be proud to recite. Below is a story of others, the information is out there, we really just need people to teach others that the American dream is not one color and children of all backgrounds should feel pride in the understanding that men and women went to great lengths to defend individual liberty, for their sake.
“Why aren’t our children exposed to the crucial contributions made by African-Americans toward the independence and formation of the United States? Names like Crispus Attucks, Phillis Wheatley, Peter Salem and James Armistead Lafayette should be mentioned alongside the founders of America. Basketball legend, best-selling author and history,” is a documentary maker,” Peter J. Rickards’, question.
Black Heroes of the American Revolution is “The one-hour documentary shares the African-American experience during the Revolutionary War and the rarely told stories of these overlooked heroes who helped establish this country. “
“The Revolutionary War period is important because it is the emergence of America. One of the most important nations in the world, and we don’t know very much about what black Americans contributed to that effort.”
In the full video above, the NBA’s highest scorer of all time discusses some of these figures, the importance of the documentary and his own personal love of history.,” -Peter J. Rickards.