African American History Essay

African American History Essay-81
In Virginia alone, as many as 150 black men, many of them slaves, served in the state navy.

In Virginia alone, as many as 150 black men, many of them slaves, served in the state navy.After the war, the legislature granted several of these men their freedom as a reward for faithful service.

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Most British officials were reluctant to arm blacks, but as early as 1775, Virginia’s royal governor, Lord Dunmore, established an all-black “Ethiopian Regiment” composed of runaway slaves.

By promising them freedom, Dunmore enticed over 800 slaves to escape from “rebel” masters.

Black participation in the Revolution, however, was not limited to supporting the American cause, and either voluntarily or under duress thousands also fought for the British.

Enslaved blacks made their own assessment of the conflict and supported the side that offered the best opportunity to escape bondage.

In the South the idea of arming slaves for military service met with such opposition that only free blacks were normally allowed to enlist in the army.

Most black soldiers were scattered throughout the Continental Army in integrated infantry regiments, where they were often assigned to support roles as wagoners, cooks, waiters or artisans.

In 1774 Abigail Adams wrote, “it always appeared a most iniquitious scheme to me to fight ourselves for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have.” Widespread talk of liberty gave thousands of slaves high expectations, and many were ready to fight for a democratic revolution that might offer them freedom.

In 1775 at least 10 to 15 black soldiers, including some slaves, fought against the British at the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill.

Early in the 18th century a few New England ministers and conscientious Quakers, such as George Keith and John Woolman, had questioned the morality of slavery but they were largely ignored.

By the 1760s, however, as the colonists began to speak out against British tyranny, more Americans pointed out the obvious contradiction between advocating liberty and owning slaves.


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