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Connecticut's Black Soldiers, 1775-1783

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by David O. White

Black soldiers of the American Revolution? Not a credible statement in light of what most Americans have read about the Revolutionary War. We have heard of Casimir Pulaski the Pole, Marquis de Lafayette the Frenchman, and Baron von Steuben the German, but not black participants.

Yet, close to 5,000 Black Americans did fight in the war against the British, and others served as laborers, spies, and guides. The absence in our general histories of their activities in this struggle lies with the misconception that the Afro-American has contributed little or nothing towards the creation of the United States and its subsequent development, for in most studies made of the Revolutionary era, there has been little impulse to search for evidences of service by blacks, except perhaps to note the existence of slavery. Histories of Connecticut have generally treated the Revolution in a similar manner. Few of them have acknowledged the contributions of the black soldier. This book seeks to correct that narrative. 

David White was born in Philadelphia. He received his B.A. from Glassboro State College in 1969, and a M.A. in history from the University of Connecticut in 1970. He is a special assistant with the Connecticut Historical Commission directing a program on Black History in Connection with the Prudence Crandall House, Canterbury, Connecticut.