The African Americans

Search for Truth and Knowledge

By Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Jr.

Part Eighteen: Free African Americans in the Revolutionary Era

After the American Revolutionary War there was a significant increase in the Free African American population. Initially, this increase occurred because those African American slaves who fought in the War on the American side as soldiers were granted freedom and land. In the years after the War, these newly freed African Americans along with other Free born African Americans continued to purchase the freedom of their relatives still in slavery.

As a result of this "freedom to the slaves" movement, almost 20% of the African Americans in the new nation were free at the time of the first United States census. In the U.S. census of 1790, the first official counting of the American population, there were more than 90,000 Free African Americans among the more than 400,000 slaves.

The story of the Free African American in the American Revolutionary Era is one of the most heroic untold sagas in the struggle for Human Freedom. Ironically African Americans fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War because both the Americans and the British offered them freedom from slavery. Many history books recount the story of an African American, Crispus Attucks, who was killed in one of the early armed conflicts in the Revolutionary Struggle. Other books tell about the heroics of African Americans such as Peter Salem, who killed a British officer before he was killed by the British Troops attacking the colonists. These stories are just two symbolic incidents of a much larger picture of African American involvement in the struggle for freedom at the "Birth of the Nation."

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