We all know that the American Revolution was about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But what did those slogans mean to black people caught up in that war? Historian Richard Bell explains that African Americans actually threw themselves into the war effort with more enthusiasm (and with more at stake) than did many white colonists. Come hear about Crispus Attucks, who was slain in a hail of redcoat gunfire during the Boston Massacre, and about Harry Washington, the runaway slave from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, who fled to British lines during the war and then sailed with the retreating redcoat army to Canada and then later to Sierra Leone.
Stories like theirs beg us to think about the stakes of the American Revolution from their perspective and to wonder just how revolutionary the American Revolution was for people of color. As you’ll hear, the war itself did bring new opportunities for independence as the British Army promised freedom to black slaves like Harry who might be willing to desert their rebel masters and join the King’s regiments. But it turns out that the war’s outcome was far more mixed. In the north, patriot victory spurred the rise of the anti-slavery movement but in the south helped to preserve plantation slavery for generations to come.
The Locust Grove Afternoon Lecture Series is held the first Wednesday of each month. Dessert and coffee are served at 1:00 pm with the lecture immediately following at 1:15 pm. Admission is $6, $4 for Locust Grove members. Reservations are not required.
Locust Grove - Historic Locust Grove, Inc.
561 Blankenbaker Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 40207