Connecticut’s Black Soldiers, 1775-1783

The African American Experience


Connecticut’s Black Soldiers, 1775-1783


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 blacks 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 is partially true because the story of Connecticut’s black participant is one about the regular foot soldier in the Revolution and not about the men who led him into battle or the political leaders who guided the nation. And it is these men who most often fill the pages of our history books.



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