Liberty or Death

Liberty or Death

The Surprising Story of Runaway Slaves Who Sided With the British During the American Revolution

Book - 2010
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Liberty or Death is the little-known story of the American Revolution told from the perspectives of the African-American slaves who fought on the side of the British Royal Army in exchange for a promise of freedom. Motivated by the 1775 proclamation by Virginia's Royal Governor that any slaves who took up arms on his behalf would be granted their freedom, these men fought bravely for a losing cause. Many of the volunteers succumbed to battle wounds or smallpox, which ran rampant on the British ships on which they were quartered. After the successful Revolution, they emigrated to Canada and, ultimately to West Africa. Liberty or Death is the inspiring story of the forgotten freedom fighters of America's Revolutionary War.
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, ©2010.
ISBN: 9781426305917
Branch Call Number: 973.346 BLA J
Characteristics: 64 p. : ill. (chiefly col.), col. maps ; 27 cm.


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oldhag Jan 24, 2012

A good beginner's book that undermines the narrative of contented American slaves passively waiting for two hundred years for Abraham Lincoln to free them. The book makes clear that, throughout the history of the U.S., American slaves fought in every way they could, including alongside the British, in relentless pursuit of their liberty. L. Duglas Wilder, the first black governor of Virginia, wrote the Foreword. Wilder quotes Patrick Henry's oration in support of the American Revolution, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" This is the same Patrick Henry who, in a letter dated January 13, 1773, while acknowledging the hypocrisy of slavery in the land of liberty, whined, "I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them". Thus were generations of black Americans consigned to nearly a hundred more years of bondage because this white man, along with many others, was too lazy, presumably, to pick up his own socks.

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