April 19: Free Black Soldiers Fought Among U.S. ‘Minutemen’ On This Day In 1775

0 Posted by - April 19, 2022 - BLACKS IN THE MILITARY, LATEST POSTS, On This Date

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Corbis/Getty Images

On April 19, 1775, in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, free black troops fought with the so-called “Minutemen” in the first engagements of the American Revolutionary War.

The Minutemen were a tiny, hand-picked elite force that needed extreme mobility and the ability to assemble fast. Initially, they were an all-white militia. Minutemen were chosen by their top commanders from militia muster lists. They were often under the age of 25 and were picked for their enthusiasm, dependability, and physical strength.

Historically, around one-quarter of the United States militia served as Minutemen, fulfilling extra tasks in that capacity. The Minutemen were the first armed militia to come or congregate in anticipation of a confrontation.

When around 5,000 free black men join the ranks of white United States troops battling Great Britain, the British ruler of the Virginian colony invites black males who remained enslaved within the United States to join the English army in return for their emancipation from American slavery.

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