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it does and he has to say african americans were living all across the northeast the southeast the gulf coast at the time of the american revolution thing about this in the month of july in seventeen seventy six we know what's going on in philadelphia this is what's going on on a plantation in louisiana william dunbar slave owner makes a bet with his neighbour that his slaves can produce more barrels days in a week and the neighbors slaves the workers for dunbar already working hard refused to work any faster than simply shut down the operation dunbar we know from his diary is fearful that they're going to be a
full scale revolt honesty he arrests his own workers four of them are put to death a fifth man is thrown in a canoe put in chains he's going to be sent to new orleans to be put on trial he jumps over the side of the boat is drought that's his fourth of july seventeen seventy six these are african americans living in north america living under slavery separated from freedom but fighting for it bill is back one of the people who gives us a sense of african america
on the eve of the revolution is that we are now the african slave because we have a story that we all know wrote that when people are made slaves you can tell them to live with you in a state of war that's amazing he had experienced this he knew it you compel them in other words a state of war existed between people who were enslaved and the people enslaving doesn't mean there was violence every day but it means that these people are on free there in war to gain their freedom that war was constant again often under the surface low key but it could burst out at any moment an active resistance and rebellion once you understand the existence of that turmoil
and to that the traditional accompaniment complications of turmoil some tensions that we associate often with the american revolution to stand back crisis throwing the t in boston harbor the turmoil between white columnists and the british government that developed between seventeen sixty five seventeen seventy five when you put those two kinds of turmoil together you begin to understand the situation of the american revolution these buses and we are now who was a
slave in this period in north america these beacons quijano who experienced slavery in north america wrote that when you make men slaves you compel them to live with me and this has been if we are now said that when you make people slaves you compel them to live with you in a state of war that's an amazing statement by someone who had lived as a slave and been compelled to live in a state of war with the white masters and owners that he's not saying that there was violence every day but
he's saying that the un free are constantly looking for ways to establish their freedom oh that sounds familiar that's not unlike the white columnists in seventeen sixty five seventy and seventy five looking to establish their freedom from britain they have their differences they claimed to be on free they were being taxed without being represented and eventually at rapid into full scale violence the story most americans know well what we haven't done yet is put together these two stories the war for freedom for by black americans that we are now saw firsthand any other war for independence from britain which it will also saw firsthand he sailed into charleston harbor when the
celebration was going on over there defeat of the stamp act he in his life was very conscious that these two struggles were connected and that's how they were connected for each individual black and white that makes the story so fascinating one thousand protest on the podcast as well send instant constant harassment and it's a port city in the us for free and sell it in seventeen sixty five there were protests all up and down the atlantic seaboard in english port cities protesting the imposition of the stamp tax when the
stamp act was imposed columnist demonstrated in boston and philadelphia in charleston well in charleston the majority of the population was black they were enslaved and they watched these demonstrations listen to the rhetoric and then adopted that rhetoric and they themselves began shouting liberty liberty just the way the whites had been doing a week before it's that they hear the two struggles coming together white colonial struggle for independence from britain and the black struggle for independence from enslavement so if you were a black president in charleston seeing the sons of liberty march down broad street with the flags with a liberty liberty across them and you can
identify with that you can relate to that you can see that as an opening through which you can push your desire for liberty as well obviously when you do that the white power structure arguing for freedom on the one hand will quickly turn around and say no no not that kind of freedom we didn't mean liberty for you and so at christmas time in seventeen sixty five in charleston there is fear of a slave uprising on the parts of the white leaders dates and trolls out through the entire community to make sure that this contagion of liberty this spreading the virus does not reach into the enslaved community as one columnist
howdy struggle and how do you demonstrate when you're not allowed to struggle and demonstrate how to organize were not allowed to organize he's our dilemmas that face people who are enslaved you have to maintain your internal independence and strength if you express it overtly to your master or to someone else you run the risk of immediate perhaps total punishment and retribution so you develop a middle ground in which you can assert yourself and ways that reassure you and remind your compatriot but don't necessarily directly offend and confront your oppressor song is a marvelous tool for that
the book is just wonderfully uplifting on the one hand wonderfully ambiguous on the other in a the peak is song is a tremendous means of protest then as now at in seventeen seventy five a song of protest that we still remember his yankee doodle used by the white folks' the patriots to taunt the air tory oppressors that if i as a black slave in charleston new york or boston or whistled yankee doodle while i was chopping wood he was my mastermind city where you whistling that's our own coast i heard you sing and i thought it was ok obviously i'm reminding you get
you you've got your protests for liberty i've got my protest for liberty better think hard about whether they're connected that was going on all across the colonies and in content on a daily basis obviously we have limited records for it but what we have but we do have some records of slaves and free blacks who were bold enough to literally petition in writing for the ear liberation particular in massachusetts we have documents surviving and one of them has always intrigued me it's from it from seventeen seventy three units for black slaves either on their own or with the assistance of someone who can write for them they stayed up petition demanding their freedom and opening since is to the effect of
you members of the legislature who are so concerned about freedom will surely be concerned about our freedom is it said honestly just said ironically of a toddling these people in one way or another they're underlining the irony that veer cries for freedom can be heard by these people who are protesting a different but really did set of injustices and people from the carolinas to jurors sleep talking in cuban community an and these ideas religion is an amazing theater for protest and discussion in the eighteenth century if you are
an african american who has accepted protestant christianity you have to put yourself on equal terms religiously with your white protestant master you're able to quote texts back at him that he's quoting a jew and so the bible book comes at a literal an area of debate we have an example from charleston seventeen seventy five a black minister who was invited to preach to a mixed congregation the whites thought that that they would get paid nine sermon from a well educated young black man they got in he preached on the liberation from the egyptians knew that the servitude of the hebrews in the old testament and i was not the text the whites were expecting and they chased him out of town no
but that image of egyptian captivity not that was so strong from the old testament was picked up by young phillis wheatley poet black poet in boston and other blacks realized that they could use the bible as a quote the bible to challenge their white masters wins gets a little bit worse and when she's been in the student to a larger voice will action to the voice of ash phyllis wheatley is she typical or on typical what an amazing woman and one cents shoes and typical in the sense that who among us could mock could be thrown across the atlantic into a totally different culture at the age of seven or eight and by the time we're a teenager not only have absorbed that
culture learn the that language but be able to write poetry in that required language and be able to confront politics and address the issues of the time as a teenager she was writing poetry and as a teenager in boston in the seventeen seventies she was writing poetry that address the issues of the day she would send them to the president of harvard college or general george washington she would address these issues in one of them she makes very clear she says in the human breast there is a desire for liberty and it's universal her phrases impatient of oppression we're all impatient of oppression and we're ready to do
away with oppression she's saying to her white audience you're impatient of oppression from the king of england and greece is reminding them or impatient of oppression from our white masters i'm so weak why so many why you lying you were supposed to join the opposition by the mid seventeenth seventies a split with brydon seems
more and more possible who's going to take part in that certainly the radicals in boston perhaps the middle colonies in philadelphia will these southern colonies joining in south carolina where there's a black majority a small minority of white slave holders controlling the colony and making the political decisions will they throw in their lot with this radical movement for revolution their very reluctant because obviously if they risk of joining in that struggle they risk the possibility that the slaves among them but the majority in their population could rise up and take over everyone is aware of these political dynamics the british officers and hierarchy are all we're of
this card that they can play by encouraging black uprisings they know that that will intimidate some of these planners were becoming too radical the white elite in the colonies is very conscious of this potential issue and they're struggling with the slaves themselves are very conscious across the border that there is a problem brewing conflict between white contingencies and that they may benefit from in south carolina in seventeen seventy five there's a free black pilot named thomas jeremiah wright he owns his own boat he pilots ships in and out of charleston harbor he's
accused by white patriots importing guns from british ships and putting them in the hands of slaves for mending rebellious it's not clear whether he did that or whether he did and he certainly thought about it but in the brief dubious trial that he is subjected to in the spring of seventy and seventy five testimony is given that he had come up to another black man on the wharf and said do you know there's a war coming you should get a gun get on board ship take part he is the way here from his contacts that there are possibilities of workers we do that when it would get a chris christie says is actually two words
likely it's not just get phillis wheatley was writing poetry about these important settlements or that some unknown african american in virginia carolina was dreaming of freedom these were very real immediate issues and people were taking action upon them we know about christmas alex in boston and he's rolling boston massacre here's an african american and killed by british troops thing about this town is jeremiah in charleston south carolina whom we don't know much about most operas a weekly petitions so
it's not just top weeklies poetry petitions to legislators it's actually win over christmas acts in boston think about thomas jeremiah in charleston harbor in south carolina the spring of seventeen seventy five he's a free black pilot that position of his own a boat of his own dining boats in and out of the harbor comes up to a fellow black on the wharf and says there's a great war coming you should get a gun get on a boat join he's aware of what's happening within a month he's accused by white patriots of smuggling guns from a british warship to be used by slaves in south carolina for insurrection it's unclear whether we did this or didn't do it but he's put on trial sentenced to hang and in the middle of summer seventeen seventy five he was hanged and burned when it bleached at by a white crowd in the
streets of charleston south carolina on the one hand you have crisp as x killed by british soldiers on the other hand you have thomas jeremiah killed by white patriots both african americans both free blacks both very conscious of what's going on in the wider theater both interested in finding ways to broaden the framework of freedom in america all of us black and white in elementary school and secondary school learned about the american revolution as a two sided struggle when there were tory loyalists who sided
with king george and there were white patriots who fought nobly against him that's an amazing struggle and our society emerged from that stroble but that's not the complete story and understand it fully you have to realize that there are poor is on the one hand patriots on the other and enslaved blacks who have a different piece of the stroke me transit because that's supposed to come up and they just jump right you can do a population boom in the population on the eve of the american revolution
there were roughly two and a half million people living in the american colonies roughly one in five african american at five hundred thousand people whether we're probably another five hundred thousand people whites committed to revolution from great britain in an equal number say five hundred thousand people are devoutly loyal to the british cause and to king george the third and then another group of the metal indecisive but if you understand those three corners of the triangle a three cornered hat if you will then you can begin to understand the american revolution it's a three cornered struggle each of these groups the british crown the patriots seeking independence from
britain the enslaved africans seeking their freedom each of these groups eyeing the other trying to figure out what kind of an alliance they can build that will serve their cause if you're an african american you might very well hope to line up with the patriots and earned her freedom fighting with him but if the offer is right you might sign up with the british hope to earn your freedom fighting with a similarly if you're british general you might think if we throw in our lot with the african americans and mobilize them and welcome to our cause we can win more readily if you're george washington even though you're a slave owner as you weigh this week equation you realize and if we freed slaves
then we would strengthen our battle against the british doesn't go that route but he considers tobar we have to know that this is happening in the political arena it was before you know we don't know you see one thing you try to figure out what's best for me not just for me at the moment but what's best in the long run for the things that i believe in we know for instance that case
of seymour burr he's a slave to the brother of aaron burr and living in connecticut his first decision is to run away to try to join the british and fight with him he's captured brought back there convinces his master that he should be allowed to fight for the american cause to earnest freedom that way and he ends up fighting for the american patriots he's looked at both of those choices boston king who is a young man in south carolina with a christian background find command of english strong awareness of the competing options and decides to side with the british and in fact many more african americans side with the british
then side with earth patriot cause it's not surprising you know my enemy's enemy is my friend potentially that's certainly something we always have to think about so if i'm owned by a white planner in virginia and his enemy is lord cornwallis then potentially lord cornwallis and his british redcoats are my friends and i would at least consider that equation it's just a bit one of the states that we didn't and we do want to do it minister don workers
by this bringing seventeen seventy five of these cards are on the table from all three players in this three sided card game and so in williamsburg virginia the issue has now reached a point where there's a question of who's going to control the guns and who's going to know if this comes to war the british gunner lord done more hints to his barber that he might free the slaves if it comes to that it's just it's a it's a loop well it's been controlled i suppose he's he's leaking a rumor to send a message to white planters but also to send a message
to black slaves to test the water on the old twenty four hours later there are half a dozen african americans at the back to work of the i was a backdoor the front door of the show up at the mansion in williamsburg to say we're ready no proof we can fight for freedom will we'll do it if we can to win within six months in the fall of seventy and seventy five done more actually issues a formal proclamation to that effect that enslaved blacks who will come and join his army and fight for their freedom you can do so now and hundreds of people begin to materialize overnight within weeks he's formed an ethiopian regiment people were wearing sashes that save liberty and to become part of his meager force in virginia trying to rest back control from
white patriots of the revolution and religious issues more done more from his perspective is looking for any allies he can't find in this immediate struggle he tries to mobilize indentured servants been invited to peace dunn moore's proclamation well for the white patriots it's immediate my god how can our enemy have done this and what should we do in return one impulses to try to disarm slaves and prevent them immediately from joining had done more
disinformation campaigns in the newspapers be sure you explain to your slaves that done more flying this is a trap sit quiet be obedient idea and washington is thinking should i allow blacks into my arm he's been vacillating on this issue he back steps a little bit allows free blacks to sign on in his army he also in this is fascinating it goes back i don't know how conscious this is it in the minds of his command but they go back and resurrect salem poor a black man who had been active in the ballot bunker hill six months before and they certainly pin a medal on and oh yes we remember that there was a black man who fought heroically and remembered it for months before after dunn was proclamation they happen to
remember that he was a pretty valiant soldier so unfair and weighing the possibilities and washington continues to weigh those possibilities right through to the end of the war in the seventeen eighties john laurens his young assistant is sam to south carolina to talk to the legislature about voting freedom to the slaves that they will join that patriot cause he's killed it never happens now but these thoughts are in their minds not so much because they've broadened their definitions of freedom but they're making strategic choices in order to beat the british it has been what
was boris's obviously done moore's proclamation raises the ante for everybody it it creates the possibility of a serious slave uprising for freedom and how are we going to control let these white planters think washington in his letters in the winter of seventy five seventy six says we've got to contain done more or this will become like a snowball he has this the asian app for him quite startling and upsetting of this proclamation gaining momentum of hundreds of people and then thousands of people joining done morris cause and retaking control of virginia in under very different terms
when you think impact of dimorphic proclamation for african americans we know better for more history the impact of lincoln's emancipation proclamation what an amazing statement and how rapidly the word of it disseminates through the entire community well done morsels word had the same kind of impact mean here is a powerful weight with authority singing word that freedom is a real and immediate possibility but it's not guaranteed that these are times of turmoil who is this done more my patriot planter owner is telling me don't believe don ward
don't go i have to make a tough personal choice and hundreds of people escape from their plantations go to the coast get themselves onboard british ships some of them never make it i found an amazing document of food seven are a slave's a family in virginia and they see a ship in the book on the chesapeake bay bee hit out towards it in a small boat thinking they're about to gain their freedom only to find out that it's a patriot boat they've been trapped they're immediately sent back to their masters punish so on an individual basis this is touch and go freedom on the one hand in severe punishment and retribution on the other in south carolina and georgia we have these documents african
americans in georgia several hundred of them going to the coast to tie the island in hopes of being rescued by a british man or white patriots in south carolina writing to their agents in georgia saying in secret yes go ahead and pay these creek indians to kill these african americans before they can get on board a british ship but cus better they should be dead then that they should join the enemy that amazing document would say the casbah you're done was proclamation really makes
clear that like you're not going to issue of we're these five hundred thousand african americans are going to end up in this struggle isn't is a major issue it central to the war in a way that lincoln's emancipation proclamation underlined the fact that enslaved month was significant in that war it didn't make it significant already wasn't and similarly in the american revolution in the presence of these five hundred thousand people their aspirations for slavery their personal and collective choices about whom to side with and on what terms that was central to the struggle in the seventeen seventies and seventeen eighties are common
we all know the importance of lincoln's emancipation proclamation in the middle of the civil war we also know that that issue of freedom for slaves was the year before lincoln put in writing role that back three generations to the american revolution the issue of freedom for african americans five hundred thousand people it's there that issue is real now here's a powerful white leader asserting it on paper making on our first date and no bargain he has his strategic wartime reasons as lincoln had his strategic wartime prisons but the offer of real and immediate freedom if only for a contingent in virginia is there an end so dan morris
proclamation to use a reality to a possibility that thousands of people had been thinking about and pushing for four generations you know the soul to the west indies the right guy and let's talk about that because it really was that wait technically i suppose i was used to mean hands suppose i wager my life and trying to join british
forces it except done morris offer of possible freedom fast as the beginning of a long hard journey what actually happened in the next six months was the smallpox epidemic broke out among the hundreds of african americans who had joined done morris forces so that in fact many of these people died it immediately and a word of that epidemic prevent others from joining in that struggle is is too much traffic stop decisions about rights and revolutions are not made overnight and that's only in the movies now in reality could to see and to remain loyal to the british crown by a
white shop owner in philadelphia is made over decades in the decision to rebel against the crown but the people who fought in washington's army decisions about rights and revolutions are not made overnight and that's only in the movies in reality if you're going to side with the british crown that's a calculated judgment that you've made over decades and if you're gonna take up arms against the british that's a calculated decision and if there's an african american you're going to strike out for your freedom that's a calculated decision that you've had to weigh over time we know for instance that in the early seventeenth
seventies african americans living in the back country of virginia got word of the somerset decision in london british judge had passed a statement and chicken after this initiative think about the somerset case somerset is an african american enslaved by a new yorker who travels with his slave to england somerset runs away he's captured it becomes a court case and a british judge lord mansfield rules in seventeen seventy two that it's impossible to hold a slave in england a hero of freedom is to pew were in england at an amazing court decision for thirteen thousand blacks enslaved in england it means they are potential immediate liberation but word of that
court decision filters very quickly to north america and we have runaway ensign the virginia gazette saying my slave disappeared last week heading for the coast hoping to get on a ship to england where he can establish his freedom hats how for word had spread its not that everyone heard of it but the great find was thick and it also means that people were listening they were paying attention they were weighing these issues as they came along and that was true for an enslaved african american who was forced to be illiterate forbidden from learning to read the english language newspapers that person was not going to remain deaf and dumb there are other ways to obtain information if your master won't allow you to read and right now and that's what the great find was when john adams is in philadelphia georgia
delegate comes to him and says mr adams you know what's going on in georgia if they get word of such and such this what everyone in the black community george will know about this in two weeks and says what you mean he says i know that information travels a hundred miles a week in georgia in the black community and he had a very clear sense of this grapevine and how information and rumor could spread through the black community which was very attentive to the fact that they might be on that even if their liberation says welcome welcome so if jesus is to understand eighteenth century
american life black or white you need to understand the coast the waterway is this is where people traveled communicated quijano spent most of his life on board a boat christmas x enslaved in la and in massachusetts had gone to the coast to become a sailor thomas jeremiah south carolina free black man became a pilot knew the coastal routes and then hundreds of thousands of people whose names we don't know who traveled those waterways exchanged information and if you grew race on a carolina plantation or tobacco on a virginia plantation that those goods had to be transported to market that had to be brought to the ships that would transport them overseas and in the process there was always the opportunity to talk two exchanged news opinions
ideas in kenya since of what was going on in these turbulent wider world it it's been nice but if i'm a black person living in virginia in seventeen seventies i've already heard of the somerset case i have weighed that possibility it's exciting but it's a distant rumor from england i've heard in full of seventeen seventy five about your down moore's proclamation offering me immediate freedom if i joined the british closer to home seems more tangible it's tempting now in the spring and summer of seventy six
from philadelphia comes this word pinned by a virginian that all men are equal and independence is something to be valley and how my two way the moore's proclamation on the one hand with jefferson's declaration and the other two white men both seemingly supportive of slavery but both talking a language of freedom and emancipation i have to weigh those possibilities and see whether if i throw my lot in with these white planters they'll be accepting of my point of view i may also know that those blacks who volunteered for their army have not been embraced you know that that's been tricky issue as to who's going to be allowed to fight in that army for that
struggle we know for john adams's letters you know that he told abigail know this is this is not about the women it's not about the black snow houston it was a separate struggle but abigail was pushing him now and similarly the african americans were applying pressure and saying are we part of this struggle or do we have to mount a separate struggled for the pain patients it's been weeks because biko that declaration of independence is an amazing document it had extraordinary impact not only in this country but around the world it's drafted at a moment
radical expectation it incorporates amazing thinking of the time and yet it also an immediate political document you know it's all came do you remember at george the third verse is finally to say that he's the villain and we're going to declare war on who were willing to fight with him if it included passages about how we did it was too encourage the slave trade fathering the blame off on him british white planters stricken that out and so it was clear to her and observer vet these patriots leaders these founding fathers we're on the horns of a dilemma they had a very difficult political path to follow trying to decide how radical to make their revolution who should
be included what did they mean by equality for all men and it was only in the playing out of that declaration over the next decades and generations that some substance and meaningful would be hammered out just how broad dead man's would be sprayed flames b the pittsburgh this week for african americans even
seventy and seventy six the declaration of independence may not be a concrete promise but it's quite an amazing document there's potential later it's a high tide when you compare it decade later to the constitution but the low tide the possibilities at the beginning of the revolution that blacks may well be included in this definition of liberty in independence by the time you get to the constitutional convention in philadelphia a white elite has consolidated their power and they've won their independence from britain but they're not going to grant independence in liberty to enslaved african americans it's very clear in the constitution that blacks will be counted as three fifths of a man and that
property will be sanctified union to include owning other people as property that's what langston hughes called the dream deferred the convention which the constitution's fourth i mean yes she's the communities into winter carolina's constitution protects in congress is unusually calm here we're going to buy a seventeen eighty six seventeen at seven leading up to the constitutional convention in philadelphia in the fighting the war the shooting war is long over but
the struggle over how this battle will be reconciled is still being fought out how much compensation loyalists who will be rewarded on the patriots side the generals or the foot soldiers and what about women what about african americans will they be included in this reorganization and again these are not issues being fought out on paper people are still taking up arms and she's rebellion in massachusetts i read former foot soldiers in that revolution are protesting against the settlement that is being handed down to them and similarly african americans are realizing that the expectations that
were raised a decade earlier are being diminished possibilities of even of individual emancipation possibilities of integrated church units instead of segregated church units they are beginning to see the willingness of great segment of the white community to really made on these possible promise is that when with the revolutionary moment that has to be a time of great disappointment but it's also a time of rethinking reorganizing and it's at this moment that you begin to see greater strength in the the separate black church for instance that better to organize among ourselves as christians then to try to plea bargained to be admitted an inferior status in our studio
integrated white church a black history in the slavery period is not a low flat depressing straight line stretching on for generations it has its high points and its low points its moments of hope and expectation that will be true individually but it's true collectively at a moment like seventeen thirty nine seventeen forty the stonewall rebellion a possible conspiracy in new york something broader could have emerged out of that it didn't the time of nat turner travolta taking thirty something broader could have materialized it didn't but in the era of the american revolution i would argue that the most promising
movement for african americans until the civil war over the next century if they are unable to realize their freedom to capitalize on their weaknesses in the white community on the influence of revolutionary thought the language of the quality that is being mattered about if they're unable to take advantage of that moment and if they fail there there's no telling when the next opportunity will come if ever and so african american history in the year of the revolution is not a story of being outside the mainstream being ignored by the events of history and the country are these people are engaged and mashed in that story and in fact the outcome of that story as a bigger impact for
exams and for almost any other americans both the heroes of the american revolution is crucial for african americans there and the possibilities are enormous for the most part the possibilities are not realize though for hundreds of african americans lead one the american revolution has a very real impact for thousands of african americans maintain their freedom through fighting with the british or with the americans some or
emancipated by slave owners whose views are changed by the revolution but most remained enslaved and their children and their children's children but that doesn't take away the fact that they came very close that this was a real moment of struggle and that in fact the entry was deferred but for them this was the only opportunity in the seventeen nineties looking back over several decades and african american might take tremendous hope in the fact that things had changed there many african americans had earned their freedom through their revolution bearing arms and others had been many
emitted by planners whose minds have been changed abolition societies were beginning to emerge there was after all a revolution brewing in haiti that would be black lived and that would be inspirational for the next generation and yet on the other hand you had to know that an extraordinary opportunity had been lost we have done everything we could we have fought through every option and possibility but we were dealing with forces often broader than we can imagine and beyond our control so that boston king embarking on a ship to leave new york at the end of the revolution notice that there are celebrations going on in the streets of new york concerning independence but he knows that for my people the moment has not yet come
not because we sat passively by we were intimately involved our freedom was denied done more in virginia is the governor of an on new projects she has a master's at home in england telling him to bring the colony under control and you realize it's in a calculated way one way to do that is to threaten platters with the liberation of their slates this will be the it chiles heel for these uppity planters who were asserting themselves against the british monarchy that by offering freedom to other slaves he will hold them in check he knows this
week so imagine the situation you have in new york city at the end of the american revolution and seventeen eighty three were literally thousands of african americans who have made their choice to join the british have watched the british failed to win the war have realized they've been on the wrong side and find themselves huddled with these defeated british forces in manhattan and the british are about to depart they're going to take many of these people with them who's going to go who's gonna stay what's my future if i'm in this group on the one hand slave owners from the south are appearing daily saying he's mind she's mind they come with me on the other hand my future with the british is very
uncertain and they go to nova scotia i'm a good and it may be sold into slavery in the west indies and even to get on board a boat i need a pass that's been signed and approved by the british on the one hand and the victorious white americans on the other the same forces that five years ago we were at war i saw a possibility of siding with one of the other now those to have established a piece i was not at the table and that piece was decided my future is much less certain and there's a somewhat larger community has a son in this time in the lobby at the time and his vision and your dream seen paper record it's conceivable that part of his job was to recapture slaves
are these huge part of the army that was we can say what he's doing this for the weather for the recess at him you think you do you find the situation in the documents where an african american venture smith's son may have joined the connecticut militia be serving in this unit and his unit now at the end of the war or may be assigned to round up of african americans to keep an eye on this community of refugees in new york and that's a terrible situation to be putting on the one hand you may have earned your own freedom by fighting for the american cause on the other hand it's very clear to you that
this government authority that you're now loyal to still does not see the rights of african americans as included in its mandate evacuation centers my generation remembers vividly are the ambiguous feelings around the american evacuation from saigon at the end of the vietnam war an amazing vivid confusing moment the british at the end of the american revolution we drew from new york in a similar
amazing and confusing moment they had lost the war overseas and a foreign common to a radical enemy almost the way that the american military had lost dog war but who goes with who stays behind one of the local people who have staked a lot on this army in new york in seventeen eighty three there were thousands of african americans loyal to the british who had thrown in their lot with the british some were going to be removed by the british but would they be helped by the british would they be welcomed into british society would they be treated unfairly dismissed and ignored with us among those issues from our own generation and our own very different experiences halfway around the world no but just as vivid just as wrenching where those experiences in a new york in
for seventeen eighties the ventilator in seventy three here you have a manhattan island the remnants of the defeated british army and his once brave force that has lost the war capitulated to these american rebels they've signed a peace treaty but you also have white loyalists and thousands of african american loyalists who've thrown in their lot with the british the british soldiers going to go home is probably relieved that the war is over and the american soldiers proud with his victory the people caught in the middle are the people we're talking about now with flashes in my mind of the scenes of the
american evacuation of saigon at the end of the vietnam war where a powerful but defeated army that's been fighting overseas is withdrawing removing its forces whose what about these people who've been loyal to those forces and we saw that vividly painfully in the nineteen seventies but in the seventeen eighties on the tip of manhattan out there was a similar drama being played out ms binns barricades if i asked you what was happening in america in the first week of july in seventeen seventy six you wouldn't be without an answer you could you could at least tell part of the story you knew what was going on in
philadelphia and the thomas jefferson was issuing the declaration of independence and that's an amazing part of the story that has reverberated through that's not the whole story for an african american living in louisiana that first week in july if you were a slave of william dunbar was a crucial moment in which your master had bargained with his neighbor to see a bet as to whether he could create more barrel staves in a week on his plantation your plantation master had taken the bat you're now forced to work faster you refuse to work faster he gained clamps down fourteen members of your slave community or killed a fifth member is put in chains carried to new orleans jumps overboard from the boat and has drowned is going on around you if you're a member of
that slave community and that's every bit as vital and crucial to that future story of america as events happening in philadelphia and boston charleston it's big we know from the journal's of william dunbar who was a planter in louisiana at the time a revolution that he made a bet with his neighbour that in the next week his slaves could produce more barrel staves and his neighbors slaves for the people in that black community that was a work speed up they were having to do even more they refused several of them were killed one man we know from the journal was
put in chains and taken in a boat he was going to be put on trial in new orleans in desperation he jumped over the side of the boat and was drowned in a sense that distant story in the back country of louisiana but the date is significant that that was the first week of july seventeenth seventy six so issues of independence our freedom i'm not just being argued and debated in philadelphia know these are real issues for real african americans all along the coast of north america thank you the issues of freedom are not just being debated in philadelphia in that first week of july seventeenth seventy six they're being debated and
fought out and realized all along the coast of north america
Africans in America
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Interview with Peter Wood, Professor of History, Duke University. 2 of 2
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Peter Wood is interviewed about William Dunbar, Equiano's observations of independence, the Stamp Act, song as a means of protest, the dynamics leading up to the Revolutiony War, Phillis Wheatley, Dunmore's Proclaimation, the Somerset case, 18th century hope for freedom and equality,The Declaration of Independence, the dream deferred, the evacuation of the British from New York and the former slaves stuck in the middle.
Race and Ethnicity
American history, African Americans, civil rights, slavery, abolition, Civil War
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Duration: 1:16:43
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Chicago: “Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with Peter Wood, Professor of History, Duke University. 2 of 2,” 1998-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 19, 2024,
MLA: “Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with Peter Wood, Professor of History, Duke University. 2 of 2.” 1998-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Africans in America; 102; Revolution; Interview with Peter Wood, Professor of History, Duke University. 2 of 2. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from