Ask the average person to describe an American Revolutionary War soldier, and the response will most likely describe the soldier as a White man – but the reality is that nearly 25% of those soldiers were Black men.
Historical reenactor Noah Lewis, who portrays a Black Revolutionary War soldier, will talk about those Black soldiers at the Lawrence Historical Society’s annual meeting Feb. 20. The meeting, which starts at 2 p.m., will be held at the Lawrence Township Municipal Building on Route 206.
Attendance is limited and all attendees must wear a face mask. Tickets, which are free, will be required to enter. A livestream option also is available. More information is available at the Lawrence Historical Society’s website at www.thelhs.org.
Lewis’s presentation is entitled “The Colonial Black Soldier and What They Mean to Us.” He is a descendent of Edward “Ned” Hector, who was a Black soldier who served in the American Continental Army.
Lewis portrays Hector, who was a free Black man. He served with Col. Thomas Proctor’s 3rd Pennsylvania Artillery as a teamster during the American Revolutionary War, and took part in the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania.
Lewis, through Hector, will talk about the Battle of Brandywine and what it was like to be a teamster. He drove a wagon led by a team of horses that transported gunpowder and ammunition. He was also a bombardier, which is part of the cannon crew.
Lewis will also talk about Blacks in Gen. George Washington’s army. About 3,000 to 5,000 Blacks served in the Continental Army, or about 25% of soldiers.
Black history is American history, Lewis said.
There were patriot soldiers of all nationalities – Irish and French and Polish – and Blacks. But no one thinks of those soldiers as Irish or French or Polish or Black, he said. They were all Americans, and they all fought for the freedoms that people enjoy today, he said.
Lewis has been portraying Hector since 1996, when he was asked by his daughter’s teacher if he could make a presentation on the subject of Colonial America. He had been making presentations on electricity and biology for his daughter’s class.
“I am blessed to have the opportunity to continue with this tribute and to aid in helping others to appreciate the contribution that Black people made to the freedom of all Americans,” Lewis said.
“There is a part of me that hopes the souls of these amazing contributors to our freedom will rest more peacefully by giving them the honor they have been denied for so many years,” he said.