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If that been one theme that has gone through Negro history it has been this theme of freedom Abhi quality of America standing up and living up to the bright promises of the Declaration of Independence. This too is the essential American theme there is no theme in Negro life that is not a theme in American life because the Negro is a market to be is completely unfettered. Benjamin the liberals distinguished on this story and the negro his activities not the occiput students of the schools in a series of talks like that and I'm not a Negro American. Nobody has indicated a negro if any mainstream figure. And sometimes we do not get a full sense of his role in our path. Many of us teach courses that are history where some of this information can be war when most casually but it would be an eye opener to the student because the record is there. The record of the negro
in the revolution. No I do not say that ideas come before action and therefore when the American revolution breaks out the preparation had been a long time in coming in the ideas of the philosophy of the Enlightenment voluntary. Peter wrote markets to solve all of these great thinkers the founding fathers newbies think and very well basically on John Locke who is 16 88 and contract theory if the King breaks a contract the king does not rule by divine right. He rules by contract breaks the contract you have a right of revolution of the farming father of the people who broke with England. They were familiar with this rich intellectual heritage of the Enlightenment and they're going to use this against George the poor and therefore when they get ready to break with the mother country for a number of reasons which you teach I know they get the intellectual argument against
the mother country. This was the intellectual undergirding of the American revolution based on the theory of natural rights all men are created equal but this is revolutionary night and when a revolution breaks out you can say to a revolution stop you stop you you can say to revolution this is just again a revolution is a two edged sword. It's always an internal revolution because what do Apprentice indenture say what the slaves say if they hear the revolutionary night back when they read the Declaration of Independence we better tell people what they're reading because they think it's a present you know because we don't really want to be here I'm quoting people for the Declaration of Independence really. Yes I'm deeply patriotic we take it over all right government over the leaders you guys face. I'm calling for the Deccan others a revolutionary language so that the American Revolution was also as
Jamieson points out a social revolution an internal revolution those who are free got hold of these great struggle. Give me liberty or give me death that Patrick Henry all of you can best play that was wrong couldn't do without him being there that give me the body or give me death. Very great phrase you say so this is revolutionary name. Now this revolutionary language was transferred to those who were not free within colonial America within the early days so that this was a tremendous document need not say the influence of it in the European revolutions of 1848 in the 20th century revolutions in Asia and Africa. Jefferson may have been our own everything they have said that all men are created equal which is partly theoretical oppression is not right he was wrong or not is a question whether people believed it and people believed in these great affirmations of the slain read in these affirmations so that the whole spirit of the Declaration of
Independence would automatically undermine such an institution of slavery. Now the ego gets into a revolution. Almost back into it. I may just mention one early episode because of the famous episode in our history it created the mind set against doing that and I was a famous Boston Massacre on March 5th 1770 now only five men were killed in this bar massacre but you know the old saying that made by can kill an automobile accident by men but you called it a massacre. You're getting a public opinion against another country. So you call this a map of Boston Mass. Wonderful propaganda now. But these be the great ideas however but when the so-called Boston Massacre on this night at 9 o'clock a frosty night in Boston with British soldiers in a moment of panic they were staged in Boston and they fired in the crowd. And five men but I doubt they would be buried on that Thursday
with great ceremony from the Grammy burying ground in Boston they would be put in a common grave by one of the five men much crisper savage if he was the only one buried from famous Faneuil Hall because he had no background we don't know anything about Christmas that is until that very moment in history when he was killed we don't know a thing about him 100 years later a man going through a newspaper saw the statement that this lady that escaped in 1750 and he played violin like Crispus Attucks looked like so we surmise that this prophetic came from slavery in 1750 but instead sent the body. On the night of March that he was there he actually died her he expired. He was the first to die. The record is very clear on that. Now one of the reasons of Crispus Attucks emerges so famously from history. Was an unfortunate indication of race feeling on the part of our great president. Second President John Adams John Adams defended the British soldiers
the British soldiers had a very good defense back they're going to get on a plane and you know but the car Carla's don't object so much they have tomatoes all over the field. So they have mine. But in defending the British soldiers John Adams appealed to race prejudice and he said to the jury. Supposing you were a British soldier. And this mob led by Crispus Attucks a fierce looking my lad. Was bearing down on you with a with a big stick. So he made Christmas attic which is really the hero's Christmas ladykiller In fact as a Christmas ad they every year proclaim in Massachusetts that you know there is a big when you wear Christmas that is found in old Boston. Obama goes all out for this as you know the focus without it's about religion but Crispus Attucks was doing then. Sometimes when we say we don't know what he was doing that he might have been he might have been interested in freedom. He might have been just interested in the excitement. Sometimes we have the we have Negro writers who say he was there because. He was
interested in that far right. If you're getting a map. But where are the documents. We know he did die he was going to find it rather great propaganda every year that the cowardly he was marched up until they had July the 4th. He has a great brain. Tremendous training. But sometimes I write is regarded too far. Now that they don't they're not responsible to professional readers of people like you. So they will use because that is dying for freedom which he didn't have but we don't know why Crispus Attucks died but we do know he died. So the rest he was doing then I might have been as I say we don't know. He might have been impressed by this. The reason to believe he was. But the point is the first man to die. Most historians consider the far south as the American revolution breaks out by the Concord record. So that is significant that in this poll. The first to die the first die and World War 2.
So for the Negro. So that Crispus Attucks does symbolize the role of the negro in the whole revolution now when the Revolutionary War broke out. Negroes take part in the first action in Boston. At Lexington Market. We have a record of negroes actually being there. George Washington and the new state government the state government Continental Army under Washington state government did not want me in the army. There's always opposition to using the No. Every role we've ever been in until the 20th century. You try to see the rock in the fog without the negro because you don't want the law to change the status of the negro the law will change and you build up the idea that the Negro is not a fighting man he's a laboring man. He owes service to somebody which he did not you will disturb those labor relations that this man becomes a warrior. So in I was the gender had been until the 20th century they would like this to use in the
Colonial was. Not. There never to believe a shortage of manpower. It's less dangerous to Army growing changes in the law and we never lost a role as walking outside enemy in war between north and south. Somebody that we never lost a war so that you our way through this is invariable as a last resort. You think the war will be over we have markers are we think the war will be over the next month because we're in from the over. When it doesn't get over. Then we have to rethink and re-offend. The same thing happened in American Revolution for over a year you buy the beginning in 1777 the states which had their own state on the med they then had its own navy. We sometimes run walk where you want now we have one don't you. But anyway the state began to reverse their policy and they began to accept me and the current that me which had to have it could get them out of it. They sent began to send
negroes the Continental Army where the service was no longer. You had to sit outside. And you had to see where the action rare are rather than within the Intercontinental not able to get anybody else. Were glad to get the negro that was sent by the so the Negro got into the American Revolution. Because of the shortage of manpower and then because of the principle of substitution start of the 20th century we always had the principle of substitution. If you were drafted you did not have to go. If you could get a substitute. Now we don't like to talk about that today because we are so brave in America that we are just anxious to get to the enemy. Yes we you know we don't talk about the substitution that's unpatriotic. But frankly everybody's looking for a substitute. I mean where do you turn if you cannot get others to be. But you can get a slave to do it by promising this freedom. So you try to slay you
promising that they will be free to take your place. This happens even in Virginia. In fact in 1784 the genuine sound they had to pass a law that any negro who served in the Virginia army had to be free because the man was bringing out this way to say this is my substitute a free negro. Then after that we're all over the map the Barclays Bank in Virginia actually had to pass a law instead of the 84 saying that if a Negro out of a 10 year ARM. He was green because he had to be responsible for his master brought in there. So that the girls got into the revolutionary war on the principle of substitution you could potentially do if you didn't want to made it to some 5000 meet in the American Revolution. We would never have just because they integrated units as we would call it a day. There were no separate meeting. Sometimes we can tell by the man if he had one name the man had one name and Bradley he was a negro just had one name in
plain legal advice to give the names which had been named have levity popularity you can almost be sure that that he had Jupiter freedom you know that would have to be so that the historians of the revolution judge a great video by the rock. And when they come across certain names because bright people are very fond of slavery of giving negroes high sounding names like Krugman out of a Greek mythology Jupiter. Yes. Loaded good does nothing nothing right go like Jupiter fruit. That's sad in some of these are actual names of course and sometimes the name would simply be negro name from numerous. Negro with not him but he was there in the American Revolution. So in the very revolution that gave them our Great Spirit we have a nation under this revolution.
The negro is now you know this is something upon the do something gaudy. I guess you didn't want to talk about the heart of the market. This thing that the negro does when he buy. A martini Friday rips out changes that it was biting other things which are these protest groups. However they believe they may be distasteful. They are fighting for an image of a monarchy you think is right for the league. Now this group is fighting for an image of a market. Which is probably go and pop something out there fighting for America so we need the negro in the American Revolution. As a participant. We have been listening to Professor Benjamin Quarles speaking on the Negro American. A series of broadcast was produced for station deputy T.R. by the Department of Education of broadcasting for the Detroit public schools. Executive producer. Frederick E. Schiller.
The negro American
Negro in the American Revolution
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Detroit Public Schools
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Producing Organization: WDTR
Producing Organization: Detroit Public Schools
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-30-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:56
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Chicago: “The negro American; Negro in the American Revolution,” 1968-09-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “The negro American; Negro in the American Revolution.” 1968-09-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: The negro American; Negro in the American Revolution. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from