Profs and Pints presents: "(African) American Revolution," a look at the role black people played in the nation's fight for independence, with Richard Bell, associate professor of history at the University of Maryland.
As school children we're taught that the the American Revolution was about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But what did those slogans mean to black people caught up in that war? Just how revolutionary was the American Revolution for people of color?
For many, it was the British who offered independence, promising freedom to black slaves who might be willing to desert their rebel masters and join the King's regiments. Others, however, took up the American patriots' cause, throwing themselves into the war effort with more enthusiasm, and putting a lot more on the line, than many white colonists.
Come learn the stories of those on both sides. You'll hear about Crispus Attucks, who was slain in a hail of redcoat gunfire during the Boston Massacre, and about Harry Washington, the runaway slave from George Washington’s Mount Vernon who fled to British lines and served with a British artillery unit during the war. (He then sailed with the retreating redcoat army to Canada and then later to Sierra Leone.)
Such stories ask us to think about the states of the American Revolution from the black perspective. They also draw attention to the war's mixed outcome for African Americans, as the patriot victory spurred the rise of the anti-slavery movement in northern states while helping to preserve plantation slavery in the south for generations to come.
Richard Bell, a scholar of the history and culture of the United States from 1750 to 1877 and a dedicated public historian, will captivate you in discussing this complex chapter of the nation's history. (Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door.)