1776 the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed to the colonist as words of Freedom. It spoke of Liberty and inalienable rights. However, for the estimated 500,000 slaves in the New World those words rang hollow. For more than 150 years African’s were sold to colonist to aid in their economic and cultural advancements. The colonist seemed not to like the constraints the motherland would place on them through taxation and subjugation. So, the Patriots fought back! Many blacks (free & enslaved) were confused as to which master to serve during the Revolution. On one hand fighting for the New Nation held promises of Liberty and a New Country where all men would be created equal. On the other, the British Crown was direct in their promise to free any slave that would fight to stabilize the uprising. 5000 blacks fought alongside the Patriots with more than 20,000 fighting alongside the British. One of the most prominent of those was Colonel Tye (a black slave who joined the British cause). Tye became a feared and respected soldier whose raids on the New York & New Jersey areas would almost turn the tide of the war. It was said by Washington soldiers that if he were on their side of the war, the War would have been won years earlier.
At any rate, thousands of blacks gained their freedom by remaining loyal to the Crown. Some moved to Nova Scotia, others went to Florida and a number of blacks went to London. Close to 1200 former slaves were granted safe passage back to West Africa.
Those who fought with the Colonist were not as fortunate. Within a few short years those who once laid down their lives for a quaint notion of freedom were back in bondage. The first of many lies African-Americans would endure during our evolution here in the now United States. It makes you wonder, was being “British” all that bad after all?
*** The question is... what does July 4th 1776 mean to you?