Podcast: Colored Patriots of the American Revolution

 

I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a podcast for some time now and I’ve finally got around to doing it. Apropos of Black History Month, I’m going back through a book I read years ago by William C. Nell called Colored Patriots of the American Revolution.

Nell is basically the reason we’re familiar with Crispus Attucks. He and several others asked the Massachusetts legislature to erect a monument to Attucks as an honor to the first martyr of the Revolution. The committee handling the petition said someone else, a boy, had died earlier so their claim wasn’t valid.

At this point, the mid-18th century, the story about Attucks had been nearly forgotten. Nell began an intensive research effort to interview survivors and relatives to compile a record of these black patriots for posterity. His book is the product of that research.

I think his work is relevant today, especially in an era where we have fake history like the 1619 Project. Nell’s efforts almost seem quaint because his argument is that black people deserved as much credit for their contributions to the country as anyone else. He himself believed in achieving racial harmony through integration. To him, America wasn’t an irredeemably tainted country. He believed in its ideals, and that they should be equally applicable to all Americans.

The heroes in this book are men and women who fight for liberty when they themselves were slaves. For them, it was more than an abstract philosophy of government. It was also personal and concrete. If anyone deserved a pass on being cynical it’s a 19th-century slave, but there they were taking up arms and marching into battle. It should be no trouble for me to feel pride and optimism for America and its future.

So join me on this journey as we look at some fascinating stories of men and women who overcame their circumstances and achieved some remarkable goals. You’ll hear about the first black man to be ordained a minister, who then went on to pastor a white church; a slave who became a double-agent and helped win the war with intelligence from Cornwallis himself; and many more.

The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution Podcast

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  1. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Thanks for posting on an interesting topic.  We all grew up learning that Crispus Attucks was the first casualty of the Revolutionary War and that he was black, but you are right, I had never heard of William Nell nor was aware that efforts to gain recognition for African Americans who served their country went back that far.  I don’t usually listen to podcasts, but will listen to this one.

    • #1
  2. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    This book was written in 1855.  How have I never heard of it before?  Thanks for bringing me to knowledge of it.  I listened to a bit of the podcast.  Very engaging.  

    • #2
  3. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Interesting stuff, Bereket, After listening I went to amazon and downloaded the Kindle version of the book for 99 cents.

    • #3
  4. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I don’t usually listen to podcasts, but will listen to this one.

    I just listened to it-very interesting and nicely done.  Looking forward to more.

    • #4
  5. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket Kelile
    @BereketKelile

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I don’t usually listen to podcasts, but will listen to this one.

    I just listened to it-very interesting and nicely done. Looking forward to more.

    I appreciate the feedback and kind words. You could also really do a lot of good by leaving a rating and review. It’ll help increase its circulation. 

    • #5
  6. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I don’t usually listen to podcasts, but will listen to this one.

    I just listened to it-very interesting and nicely done. Looking forward to more.

    I appreciate the feedback and kind words. You could also really do a lot of good by leaving a rating and review. It’ll help increase its circulation.

    Happy to but it wasn’t obvious to me how to leave a review on the site.  

    • #6
  7. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    Thanks for posting this! I just bought this book at Amazon. The rating is 4 1/2 stars Out of 5. And unlike “project 1619” the reader won’t be scammed with lies & distortions.

    They even have a 19 page pamphlet written by William C. Nell and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Low rated because people bought it thinking it was the book (paperback 253 pages).

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Sweezle (View Comment):
    Low rated because people bought it thinking it was the book (paperback 253 pages).

    <Rant on>

    There’s nothing quite like giving a low rating to something, not because of what it is, but because it wasn’t what you thought it was. If it wasn’t what you thought it was, that is on you, not on the work or its author. Do not punish the author for your mistake.

    <Rant off.>

    @sweezle, that’s not directed at you, just at the trend you noticed.

     

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bereket,

    You have a great voice for a podcaster. I listened to the intro. Will get to the first chapter soon. Have bookmarked the page.

    Thank you for doing it and sharing it.

    • #9
  10. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket Kelile
    @BereketKelile

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I don’t usually listen to podcasts, but will listen to this one.

    I just listened to it-very interesting and nicely done. Looking forward to more.

    I appreciate the feedback and kind words. You could also really do a lot of good by leaving a rating and review. It’ll help increase its circulation.

    Happy to but it wasn’t obvious to me how to leave a review on the site.

    It depends on where you listened to it, but the site should have links to about 5 different platforms where it’s playing. Here’s the link for Apple Podcasts

    • #10
  11. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    On the first full one between 5:34 when you stop talking about Attucks and about 5:37 when your voice resumes, there seems to be something missing. You go from Attucks to explaining enlistment bonuses and mentioning Seymour Burr. Was there an editing issue?

    • #11
  12. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Bereket Kelile (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    I don’t usually listen to podcasts, but will listen to this one.

    I just listened to it-very interesting and nicely done. Looking forward to more.

    I appreciate the feedback and kind words. You could also really do a lot of good by leaving a rating and review. It’ll help increase its circulation.

    Happy to but it wasn’t obvious to me how to leave a review on the site.

    It depends on where you listened to it, but the site should have links to about 5 different platforms where it’s playing. Here’s the link for Apple Podcasts.

    Done!

    • #12
  13. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket Kelile
    @BereketKelile

    Arahant (View Comment):

    On the first full one between 5:34 when you stop talking about Attucks and about 5:37 when your voice resumes, there seems to be something missing. You go from Attucks to explaining enlistment bonuses and mentioning Seymour Burr. Was there an editing issue?

    I’ll go back and check on that. I’m not a professional, like Lileks, so it’ll take some time to develop my segue skills. 

    • #13
  14. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    Very interesting.  You have a good voice for this.  Look forward to hearing more and will get the book.

    I learned a few years ago about John Laurens, who along with Alexander Hamilton, was an aide to Washington.  Laurens, whose father was one of the biggest slaveholders in South Carolina along with being President of the Continental Congress, believed slavery wrong and Washington gave him leave to return to South Carolina in order to try to persuade its legislature to allow the raising of a regiment of slaves who would be freed after service.  Unfortunately, the legislature rejected the proposal several times.  Laurens was killed in a skirmish near the end of the war.  His father freed his slaves in honor of his son.

    • #14
  15. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket Kelile
    @BereketKelile

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo&hellip; (View Comment):

    Very interesting. You have a good voice for this. Look forward to hearing more and will get the book.

    I learned a few years ago about John Laurens, who along with Alexander Hamilton, was an aide to Washington. Laurens, whose father was one of the biggest slaveholders in South Carolina along with being President of the Continental Congress, believed slavery wrong and Washington gave him leave to return to South Carolina in order to try to persuade its legislature to allow the raising of a regiment of slaves who would be freed after service. Unfortunately, the legislature rejected the proposal several times. Laurens was killed in a skirmish near the end of the war. His father freed his slaves in honor of his son.

    What an interesting story. Something similar happened in Rhode Island where they started recruiting slaves before they repealed the law after getting pushback. They ended up integrating them into the same regiment along with others. 

    • #15

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