Throughout American history, Afro-Americans have had to decide
whether they belonged in the United States or if they should go
elsewhere. Slavery no doubtfully had a great impact upon their
decisions. However, despite their troubles African Americans have made
a grand contribution and a great impact on our armed forces since the

Revolutionary War. The Afro-American has fought against its country\'s
wars, and they have also fought the war within their country to gain
the right to fight and freedom.

America\'s first war, its war for independence from Great

Britain was a great accomplishment. This achievement could not have
been performed if not for the black soldiers in the armies. "The first

American to shed blood in the revolution that freed America from

British rule was Crispus Attucks, a Black seaman." (Mullen 9) Attucks
along with four white men were killed in the Boston Massacre of March

5, 1770. Even though Attucks was a fugitive slave running from his
master, he was still willing to fight against England along with other
whites and give the ultimate sacrifice, his life, for freedom. This
wasn\'t the only incident of Blacks giving it all during the War for


From the first battles of Concord and Lexington in 1775, Black
soldiers "took up arms against the mother country." (Mullen 11) Of the
many Black men who fought in those battles, the most famous are Peter

Salem, Cato Stedman, Cuff Whittemore, Cato Wood, Prince Estabrook,

Caesar Ferritt, Samuel Craft, Lemuel Haynes, and Pomp Blackman. One of
the most distinguished heroes o the Battle of Bunker Hill was Peter

Salem who, according to some sources, fired the shot that killed Major

John Pitcairn of the Royal Marines. But Peter Salem wasn\'t the only

Black hero during the Revolutionary War.

Another Black man, Salem Poor, also made a hero of himself at

Bunker Hill. Because of his bravery at the battle, he was commended by
several officers to the Continental Congress. "Equally gallant at

Bunker Hill were Pomp Fisk, Grant Coope, Charleston Eads, Seymour

Burr, Titus Coburn, Cuff Hayes, and Caesar Dickenson." (Wilson 32) Of
these men, Caesar Brown and Cuff Hayes were killed during the battle.

Even though the Afro-American soldiers clearly distinguished
themselves as soldiers, they were by no means wanted in the army.

"Shortly after General Washington took command of the Army, the white
colonists decided that not only should no Black slaves or freemen be
enlisted, but that those already serving in the Army should be
dismissed." (Mullen 12)

The colonists would probably have kept Blacks out of the
military during the war if not for the proclamation by the Lord of

Dunmore. He stated "I do hereby... declare all... Negroes... free,
that are able and willing to bear arms, they joining his Majesty\'s
troops, as soon as may be, for the more speedily reducing this colony
to a proper dignity." This meant that any black soldiers willing to
fight for the British would be declared legally free. Therefore, the

Americans couldn\'t afford to deny Black Americans, free or not, from
joining the army. Less than a month following Lord Dunmore\'s
proclamation, General George Washington officially reversed his policy
about letting "free Negroes to enlist." (Fowler 21)

"Of the 300,000 soldiers who served in the Continental Army
during the War of Independence, approximately five thousand were

Black. Some volunteered. Others were drafted. In addition to several
all-Black companies, an all-Black regiment was recruited from Rhode

Island. This regiment distinguished itself in the Battle of Rhode

Island on August 29, 1778." (Wilson 22)

Between 1775 to 1781 there weren\'t any battles without Black
participants. Black soldiers fought for the colonies at Lexington,

Concord, Ticonderoga, White Plains, Benington, Brandywine, Saratoga,

Savannah, and Yorktown. There were two Blacks, Prince Whipple and

Oliver Cromwell, with Washington when he crossed the Delaware River on

Christmas Day in 1776. "Some won recognition and a place in the
history of the War of Independence by their outstanding service,
although most have remained anonymous." (Craine 43) Unfortunately
despite Afro-Americans\' contributions to the war effort and the large
amount of dead Blacks, few had gained their freedom. The War for

Independence was just the first of a list of wars Afro-Americans
would have a chance to participate in.

The second American war fought with Afro-American help was the

War of 1812. As Martin Delany put it, the Afro-American were "as ready
and as willing to volunteer in your service as any other... and Blacks
were not compelled to go; they were not draughted. They were
volunteers." (Wilson 47) Black Americans fought the British on land
and sea, and they "were particularly conspicuous in the various naval