A Black Man's Role in American Revolution

Image of the Week: A painting conveys the true extent of the African-American contribution to the cause of freedom.

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Written in the mid-19th century in the wake of the Fugitive Slave Act, Nell's Colored Patriots of the American Revolution attempted to correct the historical record by documenting the contributions that notable black Americans such as Crispus Attucks made to the war. Most, if not all, of the cases Nell documents are of black men who were given their freedom on condition of military service, an offer made by the leaders of both American and British forces.

To grasp the true extent of the black contribution to the cause of freedom during the Revolution, we must think not only of free black man like Attucks and Salem but also of those who faced the same dangers while still laboring under the bonds of servitude.

The Image of the Black in Western Art Archive resides at Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. The director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute is Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is also The Root's editor-in-chief. The archive and Harvard University Press collaborated to create The Image of the Black in Western Art book series, eight volumes of which were edited by Gates and David Bindman and published by Harvard University Press. Text for each Image of the Week is written by Sheldon Cheek.

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The Image of the Black Archive & Library resides at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. The founding director of the Hutchins Center is Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is also The Root’s editor-in-chief. The archive and Harvard University Press collaborated to create The Image of the Black in Western Art book series, eight volumes of which were edited by Gates and David Bindman and published by Harvard University Press. Text for each Image of the Week is written by Sheldon Cheek.

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