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STANDING IN THEIR OWN LIGHT: African American Patriots in the American Revolution

STANDING IN THEIR OWN LIGHT: African American Patriots in the American Revolution
by van Buskirk, Judith

1-214090

The Revolutionary War encompassed at least two struggles: one for freedom from British rule, and another, quieter but no less significant, fight for the liberty of African Americans, thousands of whom fought in the Continental Army. Because these veterans left few letters or diaries, their story has remained largely untold, and the significance of their service largely unappreciated.

Revolutionary-era African Americans began their lives in a world that hardly questioned slavery; they finished their days in a world that increasingly contested the existence of the institution. Judith L. Van Buskirk traces this shift to the wartime experiences of African Americans. Mining first-hand sources that include black veterans' pension files, Van Buskirk examines how the struggle for independence moved from the battlefield to the courthouse-and how personal conflicts contributed to the larger struggle against slavery and legal inequality. Black veterans claimed an American identity based on their willing sacrifice on behalf of American independence. Abolitionists, citing the contributions of black soldiers, adopted the tactics and rhetoric of revolution, personal autonomy, and freedom.

Van Buskirk deftly places her findings in the changing context of the time. She notes the varied conditions of slavery before the war, the different degrees of racial integration across the Continental Army, and the war's divergent effects on both northern and southern states. Her efforts retrieve black patriots' experiences from historical obscurity and reveal their importance in the fight for equal rights-even though it would take another war to end slavery in the United States.

1 vol, 312 pgs 2017 US, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA PRESS
NEW-pb, available mid May 2017 ......$35.00

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Updated as of 6/13/2024

ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
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