Who were the Black Patriots in the American Revolution?

On March 5, 1770, an angry crowd gathered in the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, to protest the unfair taxes and laws in the American colonies.

British soldiers rushed to control the crowd. Crispus Attucks, a black seaman and escaped slave, was the first to confront the British soldiers. When the soldiers retaliated, Crispus Attucks was also the first man to die. This confrontation is known as the Boston Massacre, and Crispus Attucks’s death is considered the first casualty of the Revolution.

Lemuel Haynes was one of many black minutemen who helped defend Concord Bridge. Peter Salem, who had been granted his freedom to enlist, was presented to General George Washington for his feat of shooting a British major.

Primas Black and Epheram Blackman, members of Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys, participated in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. Salem Poor was given a special commendation for leadership and courage, making him the first acknowledged black military hero in American history.

Other black freedom fighters were Barzillai Lew, Cuff Whittemore, Pomp Blackman, Caesar and John Ferrit (father and son), Prince Estabrook, and Samuel Craft.