AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
Four African Americans in the American Revolution
Four African Americans Who Fought in the American Revolution
By Diane Duprey
Slavery in America is an institution that is associated with the American South, but it also existed right here in Massachusetts. Several wealthy merchants and gentlemen had a number of slaves who were house servants. There were times in our history when these slaves did much more than provide for the needs of their masters. One of these times was during the American Revolution.
When the war began, only white men were allowed to serve (although some regiments enlisted “free blacks” against General Washington’s wishes). As the war wore on, it was obvious that more enlisted men were needed and a quota for each state was set up. This quota was filled by white men, freed blacks and slaves who either volunteered on their own or were sent in place of their white owners. Whatever the reason that slaves served, they were promised and given their freedom at the end of the war. In Massachusetts, 572 blacks served in the state’s armies and many were given their freedom in 1778. The Town of Plymouth was the home of several such men, four of whom are the subject of this part of the presentation.
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