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African Americans During the American Revolution

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 2 months, 3 weeks ago


"Crispus Attucks," by Herschel Levit, mural at the Recorder of Deeds Building (1943)


Crispus Attucks

Crispus Attucks


African Americans during the American Revolution

  • Crispus Attucks 


  • James Armistead 




Cross-Link: Loyalists and Native Americans during the Revolutionary War



African Americans During the Revolution


  • African Americans fought on both sides of the war. At first, George Washington forbid the enlistment of black soldiers in the military. 


  • John Murray, governor of Virginia, issued an order to emancipate any rebel slave if they fought for the crown.


 Link to Lord Dunmore's Proclamation (1775) 


  • Eventually Washington allowed free black men enlist but did not let slaves enlist.


Click here to access a short PDF with information on some lesser known African Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War


Go here information on the contributions of African Americans, including the 5000 Blacks who served in the Continental Army and Black seamen who served on ships during the war.


external image Beautiful_red_apple.jpg African Americans during the American Revolution--Teacher Reference Sheet from Colonial Williamsburg (2006).



 Overview of African American participation in the America Revolution- Crash Course History 


The American Revolution: Crash Course Black American History #8 

When we talk about the American Revolution and Revolutionary War, the discussion often involves lofty ideals like liberty, freedom, and justice. The Declaration of Independence even opens with the idea that "all men are created equal." But it turns out, the war wasn't being fought on behalf of "all men." The war was mainly about freedom for white colonists, and liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness didn't apply to the Black people living in the British colonies. During the war, Black people took up arms on both sides of the conflict, and today we're going to learn how and why they participated.”


Click here for a video about the role of African Americans in the American Revolution


Crispus Attucks 

  • African American and considered the first casualty of the American Revolution (Black History Boston)


File:William L. Champney The Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770 (cropped).jpg

The illustration above is an Artists rendition of the Boston Massacre by Willian L. Champney. Crispus Attackus can be seen getting shot in this illustration. 


To find out more information on African American in the war, click here

For an overview of the work that African Americans added the Revolutionary War, click here.


Phillis Wheatly


 CROSS-LINK: Slavery in Colonial North America


A famous African American Poet Who was on the Patriots side during the American revolution 


Click here for read one of Phillis Wheatly's most famous poems.



James Armistead, Double Agent


Facsimile of the Marquis de Lafayette's original certificate commending

James Armistead's service on behalf of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

external image Marquis_de_Lafayette_James_Armistead_Lafayette.jpeg


James Armistead was a highly effective double agent spy during the war.


external image Beautiful_red_apple.jpg


First Rhode Island Regiment

A colonial military unit soldiers that included several companies of all-Black soldiers. It unit also included Native American soldiers fighting for the colonial side.


  • Connecticut and New Jersey also high enlistment of Black soldiers.


  • See Pines Bridges Monument for more information about the First Rhode Island regiment from the Yorktown Historical Society.


  • Here is a video explaining the accomplishments of the First Rhode Island Regiment. 


Click here for a lesson plan for watching a video on African Americans during the Revolutionary War with discussion topics and questions. 

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