Liberty Patriots

 

Liberty Patriots

The Unfolding Story of American Independence

Christianity, liberal enlightenment, The Declaration of Independence, universal education, and human nature itself inspired the American slave to seek liberty.

Before the War for Independence, Anthony Benezet established in Philadelphia a Negro School.  Christian home-schooled poets Jupiter Hammon and Phillis Wheatley won international renown.  Members of General Washington’s military family Laurens, Hamilton, and Lafayette pressured Washington to free slaves and to create a black regiment.  James Madison proposed and observed,

…would it not be as well to liberate and make soldiers at once of the blacks themselves…it would certainly be more consonant with the principles of liberty, which ought never to be lost sight of in a contest for liberty.

 

Liberty Patriots Time Capsule
America 250, Liberty Patriots Time Capsule Marker. M. Curtis, des.

 

Although Madison’s liberated slave regiment was not formed, freed men and slaves served with distinction in all military practices requisite to the conduct of war and to the achievement of national liberty.  A few American colonies boasted all-black units, yet most blacks served in integrated units.  Baron Ludwig von Closen, aide-de-camp to General Rochambeau noted, “Three-quarters of the Rhode Island regiment consists of negroes, and that regiment is the most neatly dressed, the best under arms, and the most precise in its maneuver.”

A few remarkable slave-soldiers are remembered as heroes.  For instance, Salem Poor’s gallantry at Bunker Hill was cited in petition to the Court of Massachusetts: “In justice to the Character of so Brave a man…under Our Own observation, we declare that A Negro Man Called Salem Poor…behaved like an Experienced Officer, as Well as an Excellent Soldier, to Set forth Particulars of his Conduct would be Tedious, We Would Only beg leave to say in the Person of this Negro Centers a Brave & gallant Soldier.

Each major battle featured the heroism of freed men and slaves.  As was said by a Caucasian veteran, “…brave, hardy troops. They helped to gain our liberty and independence.

 

Liberty Patriots Headstone
America 250, Liberty Patriots Headstone, v 2. M. Curtis, des.

 

In desire for national and especially for personal liberty, numerous slaves escaped to join the Continental Army.  Many slaves bargained with masters to win manumission in exchange for military service risking wounds, capture, starvation, disease and death in hope of freedom.  Most of these slaves won manumission, yet some despicable masters reneged on bargains.  After military service, Jack Arabas escaped his master and was set free by a Connecticut court.  Mr. James Robinson, who at Yorktown was decorated by General Lafayette for military valor, was returned to slavery in the deep, deep South.  Yet such was Robinson’s valor that he again served his country in the War of 1812.  Not until after our War to End Slavery did the American hero James Robinson experience freedom.  The redoubtable Mr. Robinson enjoyed his liberty by living to achieve 115 years.

You might like to know, Robinson lies at rest in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery, neighbor to civic leaders, judges, congressmen, senators, and governors.

The story of “The Redoubtable Mr. Robinson” and of 20 other remarkable persons is assembled in Liberty Patriots: The Unfolding Story of American Independence, a booklet of some 7,500 words that will be available 4 July 2025.  As you know, 4 July 2026 marks our Semiquincentennial, the 250th anniversary of The Declaration of Independence and American Liberty, the world’s model of national, political, and personal liberation.

 

America 250, Liberty Patriots Standing Marker.
America 250, Liberty Patriots Standing Marker. M. Curtis, des.

 

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The National Liberty Memorial

Here I must mention that Liberty Patriots, The Unfolding Story of American Independence was inspired by Maurice Barboza whose work I have reinforced for 25 years.  In the course of discovering his own ancestors’ connections to the War of Independence, he caused the discovery of thousands of forgotten African Americans and marshalled it to reform a powerful heritage society that often inauthentically interpretated American history.  His labors of over 40 years illuminate the worthiness of our Liberty Patriots’ forgotten deeds and the historical good sense of a memorial honoring them on the National Mall.

 

America 250, Liberty Patriots Tabletop Marker
America 250, Liberty Patriots Tabletop Marker, A. M. Curtis, des.

 

Liberty Fund DC is a not-for-profit organization incorporated to create a memorial honoring African Americans who fought in our War of Independence; as described in Public Law 112-239.  The National Liberty Memorial will demonstrate essential American values at work in the nation’s founding and in the honorable achievement of African Americans who fought for our nation’s liberty.

Enabling legislation allows Liberty Fund D.C. to construct a traditional, heroic memorial on Federal Land within Area 1 of the District of Columbia; to develop interactive programs that will educate citizens about African American Patriot contributions to America’s War of Independence; to demonstrate the Patriots influence on subsequent generations; and to inspire youth to the achievement of exemplary citizenship.

Founded in 2005, Liberty Fund DC completes the unfinished business of constructing a memorial to honor African American contributions to national liberty in our nation’s first war.  The genesis of the Liberty Memorial was Lena Santos Ferguson’s determination to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR.)  Ms. Ferguson’s efforts led to a path for black women to join the DAR, the identification and publication of over 5,000 names of forgotten African American Patriots, and the initial Memorial legislation which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

 

Liberty Patriots Gateway Marker
America 250, Liberty Patriots Gateway Marker, A & B, 2024. M. Curtis, des.

 

Barboza’s 40 plus years of research and writing has confirmed the worthiness of the project.  In January of 2013, Liberty Fund DC (an IRS tax-exempt 501C-3 organization) was entrusted to construct The National Liberty Memorial.  Liberty Fund DC has identified an appropriate site near the Washington Monument.  Preliminary design and fundraising have begun.  Your assistance is needed and will be gratefully appreciated.

 

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America 250, Liberty Patriots

Several heroic Liberty Patriots will be remembered in the silhouettes and statuettes of “American Heroes, Myths & Legends”.

In celebration of our Semiquincentennial, America’s 250th Anniversary, I am creating a lasting memorial of American greatness, an honest history of we the American people.

Our achievements and traditions from discovery through founding will be manifested in cameos, statuettes, tondos, and a book.  The statuary will be Classive, in the imperial style of America’s Golden Age (1876 – 1945).  The book is part Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita (From the Founding of the City [Rome]), part Parson Weems’ fables, part Plutarch’s Lives, and too, the book is loquacious in the manner of Herodotus.  Both the book and the statuary will be a testament.

Our American story is large.  Great have been our glories, magnificent our deeds.  So numerous have been our heroes that it was difficult to choose only 33 to represent the width and breadth of American history and mythology.

Each year through 2026, six statuettes, two tondos, and eleven cameos will be created.  In 2025 we will release American Heroes, Myths & Legends, an illustrated history in songs, anecdotes, and biographies of the heroes, myths and legends that sustain our American traditions and Classive virtues.

Liberty Patriots, The Unfolding Story of American Independence is among Michael J Curtis‘ America 250 projects.

 

Liberty Patriots Tabletop Marker
America 250, Liberty Patriots Tabletop Marker, B. M. Curtis, des.

 

Included in the brief biographies:

Prince Hall (1735 – 1807)
Colonel Louis (c.1740 – 1814)
Nero Hawley (c.1742 – 1817)
Stacey Williams (c.1742 – 1820)
Edward “Ned” Hector (born c. 1744 – 1834)
Prince Simbo (1740 or 1750 – 1810)
Prince Whipple (1750 – 1796)
William “Billy” Lee (1750 – 1828)
Martin Black (born c. 1751)
Oliver Cromwell (1752 – 1853)
Phillis Wheatley (1753 –1784)
“Captain” Mark Starlins (dates unknown)
Lemuel Haynes (1753 –1833)
James Robinson (1753 – 1868)
London Hazard (dates unknown)
Colonel John Laurens (1754 – 1782)
William Condo (c.1754 – between 1810 – 1820)
Agrippa Hull (1759 –1848)
Richard “Dick” Rhodes (c.1760 – 1823)
James Forten (1766 – 1842)
Peter Jennings (date unknown – 1842)

 

To acquire a Liberty Patriot marker or memorial for your community, contact Michael Curtis.

 

Liberty Patriots memorial stone
America 250, Liberty Patriots Ground Marker, v 2. M. Curtis, des.

 

The National Liberty Memorial 

LIBERTY PATRIOTS

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