Thursday, November 26, 2015

God Save the King! Black Loyalists of the American Revolution

Two hundred forty years ago, Lord Dunmore, the governor of Virginia issued a proclamation manumitting slaves and bondsmen whose master was in rebellion against the Crown*. Clinton and other British officials would declare this policy with the purpose of denying the rebellion a labor force, fomenting servile insurrection, and inflicting economic loss. Thousands of freedom seeking blacks would make their way to British commands to enlist, dwarfing the approximately 5000 that   fought for the colonial forces.

When in November 25, 1783, the last occupying British forces evacuated New York, it took with it 3000 black loyalist, fleeing the almost certain fate of being placed back into slavery, or like the rebel slaves who ran away and fought as free men, spend the rest of their lives evading capture.

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