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Saratoga Exhibition Chronicles Black Participation in American Revolutionary War

American Revolutionary War patriot, Agrippa Hull

Agrippa Hull, a freeborn African-American, joined the patriot cause of his own choosing and served the duration of the Revolutionary War.

The Stockbridge, Mass., native fought in the battles of Saratoga, Monmouth and Guilford Courthouse and endured the hardships of the brutally cold winter of 1778 at Valley Forge.

An estimated 5,000 black soldiers stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their white counterparts during the American Revolution — the last time they’d be allowed to for 165 years.

“Most people don’t know that during the Revolutionary War the army of the united colonies, or United States, was generally racially integrated,” said Eric Schnitzer, a Saratoga National Historical Park ranger. “There was definitely racism going on. An African-American could not be a commissioned officer. In every other way they were equal — uniforms, weapons, pay. Even with the pension acts approved after the war, there is no evidence of discrimination.”

Schnitzer will lead an in-depth presentation, “Men of African Descent at the Battles of Saratoga,” at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at the historical park.

“Both sides had black men serving,” Schnitzer said.

About 20 of the 450 blacks at Saratoga served with the British as drummers and musicians. They were not Americans, but had been enslaved in the Caribbean and became the property of a British general after the French and Indian War…

Read more: Paul Post, The Saratogian


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