The Boston Massacre: The Cause Of The Boston Revolution

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 12:40:37 AM

The Boston Massacre: The Cause Of The Boston Revolution

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The Boston Massacre - Road to the Revolution

Knock them over! Prior to the revolution, many free African Americans supported the anti-British cause, most famously Crispus Attucks , believed to be the first person killed at the Boston Massacre. At the time of the American Revolution, some Black men had already enlisted as Minutemen. Both free and enslaved Africans had served in private militias, especially in the North, defending their villages against attacks by Native Americans. They were under orders to become activated if the British troops in Boston took the offensive. Peter Salem , who had been freed by his owner to join the Framingham militia, was one of the Black men in the military.

He served for nearly five years. In April , at Lexington and Concord , Black men responded to the call and fought with Patriot forces. Prince Estabrook was wounded some time during the fighting on 19 April, probably at Lexington. Many African Americans, both enslaved and free, wanted to join with the Patriots. They believed that they would achieve freedom or expand their civil rights. On April 26, , during Tyron's raid on Danbury Connecticut, a slave named Adams, in an act of reckless daring, was killed when firing upon the British. American states had to meet quotas of troops for the new Continental Army , and New England regiments recruited Black enslaved people by promising freedom to those who served in the Continental Army.

During the course of the war, about one-fifth of the men in the northern army were Black. Because of manpower shortages at sea, both the Continental Navy and Royal Navy signed African Americans into their navies. Even southern colonies, which worried about putting guns into the hands of enslaved people for the army, had no qualms about using Black men to pilot vessels and to handle the ammunition on ships. Revolutionary leaders began to be fearful of using Black men in the armed forces. They were afraid that enslaved people who were armed would cause slave rebellions. Slave owners became concerned that military service would eventually free their people.

In May , the Massachusetts Committee of Safety enrolled enslaved people in the armies of the colony. The action was adopted by the Continental Congress when they took over the Patriot Army. But Horatio Gates in July issued an order to recruiters, ordering them not to enroll "any deserter from the Ministerial army, nor any stroller, negro or vagabond. In , Sir Henry Clinton issued the Philipsburg Proclamation , which stipulated that all enslaved people, regardless of age or gender owned by Patriots would be accepted at British lines.

This greatly increased the number of enslaved African Americans who fled to British lines, and many regiments were formed during this period. The largest regiment made up of escaped African Americas was the Black Company of Pioneers , a pioneer unit. A smaller unit of 24 escaped slaves fought under the command of Colonel Tye , raiding Patriot settlements in New Jersey. In Savannah , Augusta , and Charleston , when threatened by Patriot forces, the British filled gaps in their troops with African Americans. In October , about Black Loyalist soldiers assisted the British in successfully defending Savannah against a joint French and American Patriot attack.

In total, historians estimate that approximately 20, African-Americans joined the British during the Revolutionary War, while 5, African-Americans joined the Patriot cause. Lord Dunmore , the royal governor of Virginia , was determined to maintain British rule in the southern colonies and promised to free those enslaved men of rebel owners who fought for him. On November 7, , he issued a proclamation: "I do hereby further declare all indented servants, Negroes, or others, appertaining to Rebels, free, that are able and willing to bear arms, they joining His Majesty's Troops. Sewn-on the breast of the uniform was the inscription "Liberty to Slaves". These enslaved men were designated as " Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment.

Dunmore's Black soldiers aroused fear among some Patriots. The Ethiopian unit was used most frequently in the South, where the African population was oppressed to the breaking point. Congress in agreed with Washington and authorized re-enlistment of free Black men who had already served. Patriots in South Carolina and Georgia resisted enlisting enslaved men as armed soldiers. African Americans from northern units were generally assigned to fight in southern battles. In some Southern states, southern Black enslaved men substituted for their masters in Patriot service.

In , Rhode Island was having trouble recruiting enough white men to meet the troop quotas set by the Continental Congress. On February 14, , the Rhode Island Assembly voted to allow the enlistment of "every able-bodied negro, mulatto, or Indian man slave" who chose to do so, and that "every slave so enlisting shall, upon his passing muster before Colonel Christopher Greene , be immediately discharged from the service of his master or mistress, and be absolutely free A total of 88 men who had been enslaved enlisted in the regiment over the next four months, joined by some free Black men.

The regiment eventually totaled about men; probably fewer than were Black men. The regiment played a fairly minor but still-praised role in the battle. Its casualties were three killed, nine wounded, and eleven missing. Like most of the Continental Army, the regiment saw little action over the next few years, as the focus of the war had shifted to the south. In , Greene and several of his Black soldiers were killed in a skirmish with Loyalists. Greene's body was mutilated by the Loyalists, apparently as punishment for having led Black soldiers against them. Forty of the Black men in his unit were also killed.

On July 21, , as the final British ship left Savannah, more than 5, enslaved African Americans were transported with their Loyalist masters for Jamaica or St. About Black people in Savannah did not evacuate, fearing that they would be re-enslaved. They established a colony in the swamps of the Savannah River. By , many were back in bondage. The British evacuation of Charleston in December included many Loyalists and more than 5, Black men. More than half of these were enslaved by the Loyalists; they were taken by their masters for resettlement in the West Indies, where the Loyalists started or bought plantations.

The British also settled freed African Americans in Jamaica and other West Indian islands, eventually granting them land. Another enslaved people were taken alongside their Loyalist masters to East Florida , which remained under British control. The British promised freedom to enslaved people who left their Patriot masters to side with the British. In New York City, which the British occupied, thousands of refugee enslaved people migrated there to gain freedom. The British created a registry of people who had escaped slavery, called the Book of Negroes. The registry included details of their enslavement, escape, and service to the British.

If accepted, the former enslaved person received a certificate entitling transport out of New York. By the time the Book of Negroes was closed, it had the names of 1, men, women, and children, who were resettled in Nova Scotia. They were known in Canada as Black Loyalists. Sixty-five percent of those evacuated were from the South. About formerly enslaved people were taken to London with British forces as free people. After the war, many freed Black people living in London and Nova Scotia struggled with discrimination, a slow pace of land grants and, in Canada, with the more severe climate.

Supporters in England organized to establish a colony in West Africa for the resettlement of Poor Blacks of London, most of whom were formerly enslaved in America. Freetown was the first settlement established of what became the colony of Sierra Leone. Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia were also asked if they wanted to relocate. Later the African colony was supplemented by Afro-Caribbean maroons transported by the British from Jamaica, as well as Africans who were liberated by the British in their intervention in the Atlantic slave trade, after Britain prohibited it in The African-American Patriots who served the Continental Army, found that the postwar military held few rewards for them.

It was much reduced in size, and state legislatures such as Connecticut and Massachusetts in and , respectively, banned all Blacks, free or enslaved, from military service. Southern states also banned all enslaved men from their militias. North Carolina was among the states that allowed free people of color to serve in their militias and bear arms until the s. Though it encompasses a small area, there are apartment listings in Bay Village. If you are seeking apartments for rent in Boston, MA that provide access to both green space and water, you are in luck. Beacon Hill is adorned with both. The brick townhouses on lovely, tree-lined streets are considered some of the most desirable Boston apartments for rent.

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The Green Line travels south from Cambridge to Boston.

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