African - Americans and America’s War for Independence

My reenacting ended when I became too old and fat.  Instead I joined the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).  The SAR is a lineage society (members must show that they are direct descendants of a Patriot of the Revolution) whose principal mission is patriotic education.  This is a mission that I REALLY believe in, so when I was asked to investigate the possibility of dedicating a memorial to a group of African-American Patriots from the Harlowe area of Craven and Carteret Counties — I agreed.
But, honestly, I was skeptical!  Free black families living near New Bern (NC’s colonial Capital) before the Revolution didn’t seem to likely given what I “thought” that I knew.  Of course I knew that there were free blacks before the Civil War, but weren’t most blacks in the South slaves?  AND wouldn’t a freed slave be more likely to live on the plantation of his former owner than in a community of other free Blacks?  How WRONG I was!

Before the Revolution North Carolina was more liberal in her attitude towards blacks than Virginia.  As Virginia’s laws became more discriminatory towards blacks (enslaved or free), some of her free blacks moved to North Carolina.  This was helped by the Indian defeat in the Tuscarora War (1711 - 1713).  By about 1720, most of the Tuscarora, who had previously lived along the Roanoke, Neuse, Tar and Pamlico Rivers, had moved back to New York -- this left lots of land available for settlement.  Four small communities of free black families formed in the Harlowe area about this time.  We don’t know when they first arrived, but we KNOW that they were there in the 1750s and have indications that they were there in the 1730s.

So did some serve in the Revolution?  More next time!

African - Americans and America’s War for Independence African - Americans and America’s War for Independence Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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