The 13 American colonies were ruled by Britain before the Revolutionary War or the War of Independence. This approach worked well at first under the strategy of salutary neglect, until colonists became angered by British control as a result of excessive taxes and other circumstances, and rose up to fight for independence.
According to historians, enslaved people of African descent faced a difficult choice when the Revolutionary War or the American Revolution began: should they fight for the patriots (members of the Thirteen Colonies who rejected British rule during the American Revolution) in the hope that a new nation would emerge and recognize their humanity, or should they flee to the British, who promised freedom to all Blacks who would join them? Some enslaved Blacks pondered whether they should intervene or wait and see what happens.
At the end of the day, many enslaved Blacks joined the side they felt would grant them freedom, despite the fact that some of them had to wait years after the war to be free. Over 5,000 enslaved individuals of African heritage are said to have joined the Patriot side during the Revolution, while 20,000 served the British crown.
The following are African-American heroes who played significant roles in the war and should be honored for their valor:
The Boston Massacre was a sad incident in American history that opened the way for the American Revolution, or America’s desire to gain independence from the United Kingdom. It all started in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1770, with a brawl that resulted in the deaths of five American colonists, killed by British soldiers.
Crispus Attucks was the first person killed in the Boston Massacre, and thus the first casualty of the American Revolutionary War. Attucks represents the 5,000 African-American soldiers that fought for an independent America as an African-American heroes. His execution added to the British regime’s unpopularity in North America in the years leading up to the American Revolution.
Although little is known about his early life, many sources say that his father was an enslaved man named Prince Yonger. Nancy Attucks, a Native American, was said to be his mother.
According to reports, a quick search of the Massachusetts State Archives will turn up a petition written to the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s General Court about the Battle of Charlestown, which includes the following: “…we declare that a Negro man…of Col. Frye’s Regiment, Capt. Ames Company in the late Battle of Charleston behaved like an experienced officer, as well as an excellent officer.”
The document was signed by fourteen officers who were present at the War of Bunker Hill and was dated December 1775, six months after the battle. Even while there were heroic individuals among the over 2,000 colonists who took part in the conflict, no one was singled out like the above. Salem Poor, an African American born into slavery in 1747 on a farm in Andover, Massachusetts, was a revolutionary hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Poor bought his freedom and married before fighting for the patriot cause at the Battle of Bunker Hill in May 1775, leaving his wife and son behind. Historians have praised him as a shining example of the African-American contribution to the country’s founding. The Revolutionary War soldier was honored on a ten-cent postage stamp on March 25, 1975.
James Armistead Lafayette
At the Battle of Yorktown on October 19, 1781, British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and his army surrendered to General George Washington’s American Army and its French allies. According to the Washington Library, this marked the end of the American Revolution’s final major fight, which led to serious discussions that culminated in the acceptance of American independence at the Treaty of Paris.
This was partly due to James Armistead Lafayette’s patriotic efforts. Armistead, who was born into slavery, volunteered to join the United States Army to fight for the country’s independence. He ended up spying for both the British and the Americans.
He was ordered to infiltrate the enemy and gather intelligence when he joined the Patriots. So he pretended to be a fugitive slave seeking to serve the British. The British accepted him and, strangely enough, assigned him the task of spying on the Patriots. However, as a Patriot, he provided the British with incorrect information about the Continental Army while giving the Patriots crucial details on British troop movements. This aided the Americans during the Siege of Yorktown, which brought the war to a close.
Phillis Wheatley was finally commemorated in 2019 with an appropriate Blue plaque in the City of London, exactly 246 years after her pioneering work was published in London in 1773. Wheatley submitted her first poem to the University of Cambridge-New England when she was 12 years old, after being sold into slavery from her home in West Africa and transported to North America. The enslaved West African girl’s first poem, “On Messers Hussey and Coffin,” was published in the Mercury, a newspaper in Newport, Rhode Island, when she was 14 years old.
She would eventually travel to England with Nathaniel Wheatley, her owner, in July 1773 at the age of 20 to have her first book, “Poems of Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” published the same year. In 1773, Wheatley became the first African American and one of the first women in the colonies to publish a book of poetry. Colonists listened to her poems. Apart from her anti-slavery works, Wheatley also supported independence, praising George Washington’s Revolutionary War efforts in her poem “To His Excellency, General Washington.” Washington is said to have admired her work.