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The Black Patriots: Slaves Who Fought for American Independence

The black patriots who fought in the Revolutionary War helped begin the end of American slavery.

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The Revolutionary War changed history in many ways. When the American colonies decided to fight for independence from Britain, people weren’t sure how the war would end.

Many of those who fought for America’s freedom were still slaves. They were the Black Patriots, slaves who chose to fight against the British military to protect America.

Who Were the Black Patriots?

There were thousands of black soldiers in the Revolutionary War. The very first American to be killed by the British Army was a man named Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave who ran away from his master in Farmingham, Massachusetts. He was also a member of the abolitionist movement, which hoped to free every slave in the land.

Other Black Patriots became famous during and after the war. Joseph Brown, a slave who had earned his freedom fighting with the Continental Army against the British, later opened a restaurant called Black Joe’s Tavern. It was an establishment that served both white and black customers. Brown’s wife invented “Joe Froggers,” a type of cookie that looks like a pancake.

Crispus Attucks

William Flora was another black soldier who stood out during the war. He served in the Virginia State Forces and fought in the Battle of Great Bridge. In December 1775, British forces attacked members of the Continental Army as they tried to retreat (run away) across the bridge. As Flora’s regiment retreated, he ripped up a plank of wood from the bridge, creating a barrier that made it difficult for the British troops to cross as the colonists fired on them. His bravery forced England’s troops to turn around.

The Beginnings of Freedom

The Black Patriots actions meant that some American colonies decided not to allow slavery in. The northern states became free, and opposed the enslavement of black Americans in the south. And it all started with the Revolutionary War.

Jeff Charles

Race Relations & Media Affairs Correspondent at and A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff’s insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.

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