THE COLORED PATRIOTS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: With Sketches of Several Distinguished Colored Persons: To Which is Added a Brief Survey of the Condition and Prospects of Colored Americans. By William C. Nell. Softcover, (1855), reprinted 2010, Illus., 415 pp. Introduction written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. With new Index of names.
This book has been resurrected after lying dormant for nearly a century. Reportedly used as a reference and textbook in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, it has recently been the subject of several high-profile discussions on American History as it relates to the treatment and recognition of African American contributions at the time of our nation's founding.
In Colored Patriots of the American Revolution, Mr. Nell has documented the African American heroes and patriots who fought during the Revolutionary War, many of which, apparently, have been forgotten by historians and writers. He identifies many black soldiers, including Crispus Attucks, the first martyr in the Boston Massacre; Henry Hill, a veteran of numerous battles, including Lexington, Princeton, and Yorktown; Peter Salem, Titus Coburn, Alexander Ames, Barzilai Lew, Cato Howe, Seymour Burr, Jeremy Jonah and numerous others. In addition to identifying and discussing many of these individuals and the events in which they participated, he often narrates subsequent historical events and or issues in which they were the subject.
This work is impressive not only for its wide-ranging scope but for its rich and thorough documentation. Information was obtained from such repositories as the Massachusetts state house archives, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Suffolk County Probate Records Office, inscriptions from graveyards in Middletown, Connecticut, North Attleboro and Concord, Massachusetts, as well as the Massachusetts State House, Federal Records, Newspapers throughout the United States, and many other publications. In addition to these sources, he also relied upon the memories, accounts, and writings of individuals, as well as other institutional records.
This book is an excellent source for historians, genealogists, and instructors of African American history.