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Showing 11–20 of 668 results for Black History Month

When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Thomas Blue

Thomas Blue is one of at least four free Black men who voted in Montgomery Township in October 1801.
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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Caesar Trent

Caesar Trent is one of at least four free Black men who voted in Montgomery Township in October 1801. He was a well-known resident of Princeton, New Jersey.
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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Discovering America’s First Women Voters, 1800 - 1807

In 2018 the Museum of the American Revolution discovered polling records that document for the first time a generation of women voters in early New Jersey. To date, we have discovered 163 women voters on nine poll lists who cast ballots across the state from 1800 to 1807. These lists introduce new stories of the first women voters in the United States – stories of the forgotten women who pioneered the vote.

The poll lists suggest women’s political significance and participation in local, state, and federal elections in early New Jersey. This first in-depth analysis of these nine poll lists from New Jersey refutes any presumption that women in the Early Republic were only passive witnesses and bystanders of the political processes that shaped the new nation.

Not only has the Museum discovered evidence of women voters in early New Jersey, we have also identified the names of at least four free Black male voters on one of the poll lists. While we have yet to confirm the identity of any free Black women voters, the presence of both women and free Black voters on these poll lists reveals the inclusive nature of the electoral system in New Jersey in the first few decades following American independence.

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Cost of Revolution: Part 3 Wounded Veteran

Richard Mansergh St. George returned home to Ireland in 1778 physically and emotionally scarred from combat. His traumatic war experience tortured him. St. George’s wound gave him constant pain, made him hallucinate, and caused him to have “fits of insanity.” The death of his wife in 1792, four years into their marriage, magnified his agony. In moments of darkness, St. George used art to manage his “painful remembrances.” An emerging art movement called Romanticism offered St. George a way to express his suffering. As a direct response to the Enlightenment, the growing Industrial Revolution, and the violence of war and revolution, Romanticism emphasized the power of human emotion. Instead of painting realistic landscapes or scenes from the Bible or history, Romantic artists painted love, pain, and fantasy. Such art appealed to Richard Mansergh St. George's wounded heart and soul.
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The Davenport Letters: January 15, 1783

James wrote another letter home about a month after his mess finished their winter hut in the encampment at New Windsor, New York. The army remained largely inactive and unpaid, or, as Davenport put it, in “peace and Poverty,” leading to ongoing frustrations among the soldiery. While many Continental soldiers had a deep ideological commitment to the Revolution and had served for years, they also felt, as Davenport put it, that “the Labourer is worthy of his hire.”

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The Davenport Letters: June 26, 1782

The letters James Davenport wrote from West Point in May and June of 1782 were just over a month apart, suggesting that he probably wrote more letters home than survive in this set. Little had changed in his circumstances, however, and the soldiers still had “Plenty of duty & Little Provision & less money.” Davenport’s humor comes through in this letter, and it includes facetious remarks about the quality of his paper, young women at home, and the oppressive summer weather.

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: PLG - Montgomery Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, October 1801

Montgomery Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, October 1801

This poll list is for an 1801 state election held at the Rocky Hill Inn in Montgomery Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. The election determined annual officeholders for the New Jersey State Assembly and Legislative Council, and for the Somerset County Sheriff and Coroner. The poll list includes the names of 343 total voters. At least 46 of the voters are women (about 14 percent of the voters on the list). It also includes the names of at least four free Black male voters. One voter is identified as Black on the poll list with the word “negro” next to his name.

There are a number of voters on this list who have yet to be identified. As the Museum of the American Revolution continues its research, please contact us if you know more about any of the voters. Share your research with us.

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Finding Freedom: London - Robert Pleasants’s Letter to Benedict Arnold

On January 30, 1781, London’s former owner, Robert Pleasants, wrote this letter to British Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, the American turncoat. Pleasants described how he valued London and wanted him to be returned. Soldiers from Arnold’s army had encamped near Pleasants’s plantation, called “Curles Neck,” earlier that month and may have persuaded London and his uncle, Carter Jack, to join them. London never returned to the Pleasants’s plantation. 

Robert Pleasants Letterbook, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary

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Finding Freedom: Andrew - United States Census, 1850

Andrew Ferguson moved to Indiana (which became a state in 1816) after the Revolutionary War. The 1850 United States Census, shown here, documents Ferguson’s residence in Monroe County. Ferguson and his wife Jane (also known as Jenny; married in 1844) are listed near the bottom of the page. “B” in the column to the right of their age and gender stands for Black, their race. Andrew Ferguson is listed as being 95 years old (or born in about 1755), but he had previously claimed that he was born in about 1765. 

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/

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The Davenport Letters: January 15, 1778

The Continental Army had been at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for less than a month when Sergeant Isaac How Davenport wrote home to his brother, Samuel, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Isaac had joined the Continental Army shortly after Lexington and Concord and served as a member of General George Washington’s Commander in Chief’s Guard. A company of mounted Guardsmen were commanded by Captain George Lewis, Washington’s nephew. In early 1777, they were consolidated into the 3rd Regiment of Continental Dragoons commanded by Colonel George Baylor. Davenport served as a sergeant through the campaigns of 1777 with this regiment. In this letter, he reflects on conditions at Valley Forge in early 1778. James and Isaac had three other brothers, Josiah, Joseph, and Samuel.

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