Founders' Friday: African-American Founders

Did your school completely omit some of the greatest stories in American history? And if so, why would they do that?

If you take a look at paintings of revolutionary times — like of the Boston Tea Party for instance — you don't see a whole lot of racial diversity. In movies like "John Adams" or "Johnny Tremain," African-American faces are few and far between and the only times you ever see them, they're shown as slaves.

But take a look at this painting of the Battle of Bunker Hill. At first glance it again looks like just another bunch of white guys. But take a look at the man on the very right side of the picture. That was Peter Salem, the hero of that battle who saved scores of American lives that day.

Look at this picture of the Battle of Lexington. One hundred and fifty Americans, all members of the Reverend Jonas Clark's church, went out to defend their town. And when the shot heard round the world was over that day, there were 18 Americans lying on the ground including both black and white patriots. One of those injured patriots on the ground in this painting was a black man named Prince Estabrook, but you never hear about him.

How about this one of the crossing of the Delaware? You see George Washington and the others, but what about the black man helping row that boat across the Delaware? His name was Prince Whipple and he fought alongside Washington during the Revolution.

Or look at this one of French general Marquis de Lafayette: The obvious assumption here is that this was his slave. But, he was not. His name was James Armistead. He was a double spy. The Brits thought he was spying for them, but he was really spying for General Washington. He'd give the Brits bad intel and reveal good, critical information to the Americans.

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