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Black History Month Events

The Museum's 2021 Black History Month events and programs have now passed. Stay tuned for future Black History Month events.

This Museum was created to tell a diverse, inclusive, ‘warts-and-all’ narrative of the American Revolution, so sharing the often-untold stories—especially of people of color—is a core element of what we do every day. But during Black History Month, we are shining a special spotlight on the Black men and women who played essential roles in establishing our nation.
Adrienne Whaley, Director of Education & Community Engagement
African American soldier's discharge signed by George Washington

New Artifact on Display

Now on Display Next to the Alan B. Miller Theater

This February view a newly displayed artifact – the discharge of an African American soldier, signed by General George Washington. The soldier, Cash Pallentine, was from Lebanon, Conn., and enlisted in a Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Army in 1777. He served until his discharge in 1783. Along the way, he served through many of the significant events of the Revolutionary War, including Valley Forge and the Battle of Monmouth. His wartime service is well-documented in muster rolls in the National Archives. After the war, he married Rose Cosman in 1784 and had two children. He died in 1791 and is buried in Lebanon, Conn.

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Digital Resources

Dive deeper into the stories of unsung Revolutionaries at the Museum and online all month long.

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Performance

Meet Elizabeth Freeman

View a new 25-minute film of a one-woman theatrical performance based on the life of Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman, a Massachusetts woman who sued for her freedom from enslavement and won.

Watch Online
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Special Exhibit

When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807

Explore the stories of the women and people of color who first pioneered the vote in the Revolutionary era with the When Women Lost the Vote virtual exhibit, available to all online through a robust virtual experience.

Explore Online
The Finding Freedom interactive tells the stories of Eve, London, Deborah, Jack, and Andrew--enslaved people during the American Revolution.
 
Interactive Feature

Finding Freedom

The Museum’s virtual resources are always available, including the new Finding Freedom digital interactive, which examines the stories of enslaved people of African descent in Virginia who followed different paths to freedom during the Revolutionary War. These stories are also available to explore in the Museum’s galleries via a touchscreen kiosk.

Explore Online
The Deborah and London Tableau figure at the Finding Freedom interactive in the galleries.
 
Museum Galleries

Virtual Museum Tour

Explore other personal—often unfamiliar—stories of free and enslaved people of African descent during the Revolutionary era. Learn about Deborah Squash, who ran away from Mount Vernon and sought protection with the British Army; Olaudah Equiano, who purchased his own freedom and published a memoir of his experiences; and Crispus Attucks, a dockworker of African and Native descent who was killed during the Boston Massacre and is considered by many historians to be the first casualty of the American Revolution; among many others.

Explore Online

From the Museum Shop

Shop these staff picks from the Museum Shop for Black History Month.

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The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

By Annette Gordon-Reed

This epic work―named a best book of the year by the Washington PostTime, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times―tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family’s dispersal after Jefferson’s death in 1826.

Purchase
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My America the Beautiful

By Katharine Lee Bates

In this celebration of what ties America together, My American the Beautiful pairs the lyrics of Katharine Lee Bates's "America the Beautiful" with fun, modern illustrations to make a must-have for little patriots! A fuzzy touch-and-feel finger trail weaves throughout the illustrations of soldiers, farmers, and cities to remind children and grownups of the thread that ties us all together. A stunning, heartfelt presentation for all patriotic families—from sea to shining sea!

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They Were Good Soldiers by John U. Rees
 

'They Were Good Soldiers’: African–Americans Serving in the Continental Army, 1775-1783

By John U. Rees

The role of African Americans in the regiments of the Continental Army is not well-known; neither is the fact that relatively large numbers served in southern regiments and that the greatest number served alongside their white comrades in integrated units. 'They Were Good Soldiers' makes extensive use of black veterans’ pension narratives to ‘hear’ them and others tell their stories, and provides insights into their lives, before, during, and after the war.

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Plenty of Space for Better Understanding

Experience the Museum’s clean, uncrowded galleries with new limited visitor capacity and enhanced health and safety procedures.

A masked family of four views a Tableau scene in the galleries.
A mother takes a picture of her two young daughters, all wearing masks, on one of the cannons of the Privateer Ship in the galleries.

Health & Safety Protocols

Learn more about the rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure the safest and most enjoyable experience for all, including reduced capacity, advance online ticket purchasing, and enhanced sanitizing and cleaning protocols.

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