In the American Revolution, about 5 percent of the Continental Soldiers were of African descent. They fought shoulder to shoulder with white soldiers—but an integrated army would not occur again until the Korean War. That’s just scratching the surface of the information gleaned from memoirs, journals, muster rolls, and pay lists that document the roles of free and enslaved African Americans in the American Revolution.
For example, Agrippa Hull was a free African-American patriot who served as an orderly to Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish military officer, engineer and nobleman, for five years during the American Revolutionary War. He served for a total of six years and two months. After the war, he received a veteran’s pension.
Illustration: Portrait of Agrippa Hull, a freeborn black man and Revolutionary War veteran who lived in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The portrait hangs in the historical room of the town library. Hull was 85 years old when his image was captured. Painted in oil in 1848 by an unknown artist, the portrait is a copy of a daguerreotype done by Anson Clark in 1844. Image courtesy Stockbridge Library Association Historical Collection.