With the revisionist history that abounds, many times, our children only learn about the most recent of the great black Americans who have blessed this country with their hard work and sacrifice, such as Martin Luther King Jr.
This is an unfortunate oversight about our nation’s black heritage. In another book from Wallbuilders, written by Dr. David Barton called “American History in Black and White,” he details some of the amazing African American leaders we had in the early years of this country that we never hear about.
James Armistead helped make the 1781 victory at Yorktown possible. Peter Salem fought as a Minuteman and was a hero at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Prince Whipple and Oliver Cromwell, both black, are pictured in the front of the famous painting depicting General George Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas night.
Barton’s book makes note of so much black history that we never hear about. For example, he points out that the officers who arrived with the very first slave ship that came to the colonies in 1619 were imprisoned and all the captured slaves were returned to Africa.
If you listen to certain cable commentators who don’t know their history, you would think all 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were fierce supporters of slavery and owners of slaves. Not true. Samuel Adams, Stephen Hopkins, Benjamin Rush, Elbridge Gerry, James Wilson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, John Witherspoon and many others were staunchly against slavery.
Our nation’s first black senator was Hiram Rhodes Revels, a minister from Mississippi. Ironically, he took the seat once held by Jefferson Davis, who served as the President of the Confederate States of America.
At that time, there were more blacks than whites living in Mississippi, and they voted overwhelmingly Republican. In fact, at the time, they could only find one black Democrat – imagine that now. The rise of the Ku Kux Klan came from Democrats not wishing the black Republicans to cast votes in the states, according to the facts presented in Barton’s book.
Josiah Walls of Florida was forced to serve in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He was eventually captured by the North and, upon his release, he immediately joined the Union forces and went on to become an officer. He was twice elected to the House of Representatives but his election was challenged both times by Florida Democrats. Once, he prevailed and returned but the second time, the Democrats had gained the House back in Florida and he was forced to relinquish his seat.
South Carolina’s Robert Brown Elliott was highly educated and was able to read in four languages. He sponsored civil rights bills that were vigorously challenged by the Democrats and eventually served at Speaker of the House in the State legislature.
So many heroes and ground-breakers. I hope you will take the time to read Barton’s book or at least find out more about these and the other early American black leaders. Check out other fantastic books about our founding history at www.wallbuilders.com.
I love the Founding Fathers and I can’t get enough of the stories about their lives and the circumstances around the Declaration of Indepedence and the ratification of the Constitution.
Since we are getting ready to celebrate our country’s 235th birthday on Monday, I wanted to write a bit about our founders and our founding for today’s post.
These are “the men who stood sponsors at the baptism in blood of our Infant Republic,” as it says in “Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence,” from Wallbuilders Press, originally written in 1848. I hope you’ll share some of these great stories with your children over the long weekend.
* The Stamp Act was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the colonists, who felt being taxed without being represented was a violation of their rights.
*The first state to ratify the Constitution was Delaware in December, 1787.
* The last state to ratify the Constitution was Rhode Island in May, 1790.
* John Hancock was the son and grandson of Christian ministers. His father died when he was an infant and so he was raised by a dear uncle, “who cherished him with great affection,” according to the “Lives of the Signers.”
* Hancock was graduated from Harvard at age 17. Samuel Adams graduated from there at age 18.
* Hancock was the President of the Continental Congress when the Declaration was signed. He was the first to sign it. “His bold signature, the very index of his character, has always excited the admiration of the beholder.” Amen.
* John Adams was a descendent of John Alden, a passenger on the Mayflower.
* John Adams died on July 4, 1826 at age 92. Thomas Jefferson died on exactly the same date, 50 years after their heroic act of declaring independence.
* Governor Gage, the leader of the royal representation from the colonies, offered immunity to everyone who declared independence with the exception of Samuel Adams and Hancock.
* Stephen Hopkins introduced a bill into the Assembly of Rhode Island in 1774 that would have outlawed the importation of slaves and manumitted all of his slaves to show his sincerity to this point.
* When Newport, Rhode Island, was taken by the British, they specifically found signer William Ellery’s house and burned it to the ground along with most of his possessions.
* Signer Roger Sherman was so motivated to learn that while he was a shoemaker’s apprentice, he would prop up a book to read when his work didn’t require him to look directly at what he was doing. He became a master of mathematics, astronomy and a renowned attorney – all self-taught. (Can you imagine your kids having this thirst for knowledge?)
* William Williams of Connecticut made significant sacrifices for our country. He not only closed his mercantile business during the unsettled times, he also exchanged $2,000 of his own money (approximately $40,000 in today’s dollars) to help pay for supplies for the Continental army and he gave up his home to French officers who were helping the colonists during the Revolution.
These are just a few of the stories of our greatest patriots. Tomorrow I will write more great stories from the Wallbuilders books (www.wallbuilders.com). For more great facts, check out this post from last July.
If you would like to read about some of our modern patriots, please check out my new book, “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American.” (www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com). The book is filled with great stories from then and now from 13 such patriots as former Attorney General Ed Meese, Red State Managing Editor Erick Erickson, writer/columnist Jackie Gingrich Cushman and Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn.]]>