Black Patriots: Continental African-American Vets

Several thousand African-Americans served in the Patriot ranks during the Revolution. Both freemen and slaves fought alongside white soldiers, in integrated regiments, a practice which would not occur again until the Korean War. In celebration of Black History Month, learn about the vital role that African-Americans played in securing our independence Sunday February 12 from 2:00 to 2:30 PM at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site.

Though some enslaved soldiers were granted freedom for serving in the Patriot army, the successful struggle for independence doomed generations of African-Americans to continued bondage. Great Britain abolished slavery 31 years before the United States, so it was quite possible that the American Civil War might have been averted had the thirteen colonies not rebelled.

Why would black soldiers agree to fight for a country that held many of their people in chains and excluded the remainder from all but the most menial tasks? The answer was quite simple actually- the deep-seated desire to be accepted and respected. Gifted African-American leader and orator Frederick Douglass, proudly proclaimed during the Civil War: &#8220Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship.&#8221 African-Americans, of the Revolutionary War Patriot forces, were willing to fight and die to be accepted by white society as did their descendants “four score and seven years” later.

New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is located on Route 300, 374 Temple Hill Road, in New Windsor, NY, just three miles south of the intersection of I-87 and I-84. For more information please call (845) 561-1765 ext. 22.

Illustration: An African American Private, 2nd New Jersey Regiment.

Related Articles

  • You Are Needed at Headquarters at New Windsor CantonmentYou Are Needed at Headquarters at New Windsor Cantonment “You Are Needed at Headquarters” a special presentation on the important role of the Continental Army military headquarters in Newburgh and New Windsor, will be held at the New […]
  • Northern Army Last New Windsor EncampmentNorthern Army Last New Windsor Encampment Surrounded on all sides now by housing developments and in certain areas completely built over, the Continental Army winter encampment, at New Windsor, in 1782-83, was, during its short […]
  • The Hasbrouck Family of Newburgh and SlaveryThe Hasbrouck Family of Newburgh and Slavery Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, New York, sits on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River. It was the headquarters of General George Washington from the spring of […]

3 thoughts on “Black Patriots: Continental African-American Vets

  1. PalmettoMike

    Hello- I am working on an exhibit on African Americans in the Revolution for a 501(c) 3 museum in Charleston, SC. Do you know where I could find permission to reuse the image from this blog?

    Reply
  2. PalmettoMike

    Hello- I am working on an exhibit on African Americans in the Revolution for a 501(c) 3 museum in Charleston, SC. Do you know where I could find permission to reuse the image from this blog?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>