The 1st Rhode Island represented Revolutionary War soldiers of African descent throughout the Patriot's Week celebration. Leon Brooks and Noah Lewis attended the reenactment of Washington's Crossing. Noah, who portrays Ned Hector, a black Continental soldier, crossed in a Durham boat in this years successful attempt. Leon Brooks stayed on shore.
Old Barracks staff and 1st Rhode Island Regiment member Fred Minus gave a presentation on the military contributions of black soldiers at the Masonic Temple on Monday of Trenton's Patriots' Week. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the topic of Africa-American military history. In his presentation he provided insight into the motivations of blacks to fight, tying in the impact of the ideals articulated in the Declaration of Independence, and the events on free and enslaved blacks. He described the outcomes of black veterans who fought for this country's or their personal freedom, many of which had to face re-enslavement, prosecution, or had to evacuate with the British. The presentation dripped with delicious tidbits of information about the impact of the American Revolution on slaves seeking freedom in the South, revolts in the Caribbeans, and how the experience of blacks fighting in this war contributed to motivating blacks to fight in the Civil War, 80 years hence. You say you never heard about any of this? Surely not! Like many in attendance, you were probably absent the day it was covered in your American History class.