Black Heroes in American History: The Untold Stories, Building on the American Heritage Series

Black Heroes in American History: The Untold Stories, Building on the American Heritage Series:   Did you know that the first double spy in America was black?  Enjoy some fantastic stories like this one as David and Rick discuss the true heritage of blacks in America and the wonderful contributions they gave and services they rendered in the American Founding Era.  

Air Date: 11/14/2017


Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

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Here we go to Building on the American Heritage Series with David Barton.

Rick:

Our topic today is black history in America. We now do February as Black History Month, but seems like we often only look at the last 40 or 50 years of black history. What were some of the great black Americans earlier?

Black History In America

David:

Well, you’re right, so much of black history today focuses from the time of Martin Luther King coming forward. And that’s important guys, really important stuff, but we used to know a whole lot more about our history. We knew of Black Patriots way back in the beginning. Matter of fact, here is a really special book. This is one that came out in 1852 The Services of Colored Americans in the War of 1776 and 1812. Now there’s a book done by William Nell.  By the way, William Nell the first black American to have any position in federal government.

And this is his kind of introduction to look at the Black Patriots we had in the revolution wars of 1812. And then he came back three years later with a really big book and this is the book from three years later The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution With the Stories of Service of These Distinguished Colored Patriots.  You go through here and there are scores of names of the American Revolution that we’ve really never heard about.

Black Heroes In The Revolution

Rick:

It’s already a paradigm shift because most of the time you think about the Revolution you think it’s a bunch of rich white guys —

David:

Yeah. You do.

Rick:

— that started America.

David:

You need to know the names of the heroes, black heroes, from Bunker Hill, or from Yorktown, or from Lexington, or from Washington crossing the Delaware. We don’t know the battle of Groton Heights, the battle of Newport.  All these battles where black heroes were the heroes,  We don’t hear a thing about that. We don’t hear a thing about blacks being elected to office back in the Founding Era.

Wentworth Cheswell

I mean, 1768 Wentworth Cheswell, a church leader is elected to office in New Hampshire. He becomes a historian of New Hampshire. The Great History of New Hampshire by Jeremy Belnap.

It was the work of Wentworth Cheswell – black historian who fed so much of that to him. He was re-elected for 49 years to eight different political offices. I mean, that’s fairly significant. We’ve never heard a word Chesil.

Thomas Hercules

We don’t hear a thing about Thomas Hercules.  He’s a black official elected in Pennsylvania in 1793. He was elected in a white area of Pennsylvania by a huge majority of votes. I mean, we never hear even about the voting that happened in the states like Massachusetts there was never a time when blacks couldn’t vote in Massachusetts.

And if you look even at the Constitution the United States – you look at what happened in ratifying the Constitution.  You have to go through all the states, you never hear about all the blacks who voted in ratification of the Constitution. I mean you go into Maryland.  Did you know in Baltimore, more blacks than whites voted to ratify the Constitution of the United States?

Rick:

I had no idea. You’re kidding.

David:

We hear nothing about that. That’s not part of what we teach in black history. We start in the 1960s and moved forward, but how about all the stuff that happened back in the 1600’s and 1700’s and 1800’s.

Rick:

Well, if you leave all of that out, then you tend to teach both black and white Americans that that blacks didn’t contribute until the 60s.

David:

That’s right.

Rick:

Instead of recognizing they make great contributions from the very beginning.

Black Heroes in the Civil War

David:

Oh, man – black inventors, black scientists, you have black mathematicians, you have black soldiers, you have black sailors.

I mean, Robert Smalls in the Civil War.  He’s the first black captain of a military ship, became a general in the Civil War. We’ve never heard of Robert Smalls — became a member of Congress, a black member of Congress, right after the Civil War. I mean, a great story and we’ve never heard of him. So we don’t see —

Rick:

Even what you just said members of Congress, black members of Congress —

David:

Black members of Congress —

Rick:

— right after the Civil War.

Hiram Rhodes Rebels

David:

There’s a great lithograph done by Currier and Ives and it shows the first blacks elected to Congress. On the far left side sitting there is the first black U.S. Senator, Hiram Rhodes Rebels.

Oh, by the way, he is the Reverend Hiram Rhodes Rebels.  He was a preacher of the gospel, he was a missionary, he raised three full regiments of black soldiers in the Civil War.  I mean, just a great guy.

Joseph Hayne Rainey

Over on the other side, you see folks like Joseph Hayne Rainey. Joseph Hayne Rainey is the first black elected to the House of Representatives.  And by the way, he’s the first black to preside over the House of Representatives.

But we’ve never talked about these guys or the other guys. You’ve got Benjamin Turner, you got Josiah Wall, you’ve got Robert Large, you got Robert Brown Elliott. We don’t talk about them in any way, shape, fashion, or form. We just didn’t even know that this happened in our history. There’s just so many things that have gotten away from our history.

Benjamin Banneker

And Benjamin Banneker — I love the story of Benjamin Banneker.  Got to tell the story because it’s so cool because Benjamin Banneker, in the Founding Era, he became a self-taught mathematician, a scientist, really incredible guy. But what Benjamin did was, he one time asked his friend to see his pocket watch.

Course, you know it’s a wind-up pocket watch back then. So Benjamin took that pocket watch, turned it over, unscrewed the back off the pocket watch.  Looked inside it. Studied for a while, put the back on it.  Gave it back to his friend. He went home.  He carved a clock out of wood that kept accurate time to within one minute a year.

Rick:

Holy cow.

David:

He saw —

Rick:

Just from looking at it —

David:

He saw —

Rick:

— and all he did was look at it —

David:

Exactly.

Rick:

— didn’t even take it apart.

David:

He looked at it and he said, “I can do that.”  Goes home and carves it out of wood. It’s incredible. Well, he goes on to teach himself math and science. Thomas Jefferson chose him as one of the seven guys to lay out D.C.

Rick:

You say he taught himself, so —

Taught Himself To Carve A Watch From Wood

David:

He taught himself.

Rick:

So what formal training — he does this kind of scientific thing, he’s all these —

David:

He would go to his friend —

Rick:

So he just taught himself.

Andrew Ellicott Designed An Almanac

David:

–Andrew Ellicott, and say, “Do you have any books on math? I want to read some math books.” And he would teach himself math and teach himself science. He came up with an almanac that was printed.

Now his almanac came out in the 1790s — very famous Almanac by Benjamin Banneker.  And by the way, the guy who helped fund it was James McHenry, signer of the U.S. Constitution – a white guy that wanted to make sure this almanac got out. So he helped raise the funding and get this almanac printed. And Banneker’s Almanac — now Banneker taught himself science — Benjamin Banneker in that almanac would predict the exact minute of sunrise and sunset even 10 years in advance.

His calculations were incredible and he sent a copy of his almanac to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson gets that and says, “This is the proof – look how brilliant this guy is.”

Anti-Slavery

He sent it off to the anti-slavery forces in France and said, “Look, here is a perfect example of a black man. Look at the computations.” I think he’s the greatest scientist in American history. We’ve never heard of Benjamin Banneker —

Rick:

Not at all.

David:

— in any grade – what a great model he was. And again, black and white, side by side cooperating and it wasn’t racism. I mean he and Andrew Ellicott and what they did and  Jefferson used — it’s good stuff.

Rick:

But you’re giving great examples. If we do go all the way back, Revolutionary War examples. This kid, right after the Revolutionary War, you go all the way through the Civil War the first members of Congress. If we hold up these examples we can say to young black Americans, “Look, you’ve had a piece of the American Dream from the beginning.” So how do we get it back into the history books and how do we get people to go back and read the story?

Black History Is American History, It’s My History

David:

Well, guess what? Black history is part of my history because I’m an American and this is part of American history.

Rick:

We’re living the benefit of what they did.

David:

Exactly right. And so we have to get this back our self.  Then once we get it, we have to pass it on because this will change the paradigm of everyone – black or white. When you see that, you know what, yeah, there was some racism back there.  

But there’s a ton of stuff that was such good cooperation between blacks and whites and others and there are so many positive uplifting examples. You don’t have to choose between Michael Jordan and Dr. King.  Although both of those are great examples.  You have hundreds of uplifting and edifying choices from across American history. And if we don’t get back to knowing our own history, we’ll never be able to recover the wholesomeness that made America so good.

Rick:

Alright, David, a lot of great questions today on black history in America.  Let’s get the first one.

Question:

Why should I be proud of the Founding Fathers and the Revolution when none of them wanted to enslave them?

Rick:

Awesome question – not just from black Americans but white Americans as well.

Deconstructionism

David:

Yeah, really it’s an element of that deconstruction stuff where we always present the negative about America and we present the exception rather than the rule. Great example.

I spoke recently at the Southern University Law School – really sharp kids. This is one of the traditional black colleges and universities in America. And so when I was there I made the comment and said, “Well, you know, as we know, unfortunately all of our Founding Fathers, signers of the Declaration, they were all a bunch of racists, and bigots, and slave owners, and that’s just one of the bad downsides America.”

Rick:

Hey, that’s what they literally taught me in law school.  Why should I listen to any of these guys?

David:

That’s right. And that’s why I put that out there and everybody said, “Yeah, that’s right. That’s, you know, it’s too bad.”  And I said, “Oh by the way,” I said, “Who up there owned slaves?” And everybody said, “Well, Thomas Jefferson did.” I said, “Yeah, who else owned slaves?” They couldn’t name anybody else.

And I said, “So wait a minute, 56 guys there.  One owned slaves.  So that means they’re all slave owners, all racist, all bigots. I said, “So what do you do over here with this man, Benjamin Rush, and this man right here, Ben Franklin?”

Abolition Society

In 1774, as an act of civil disobedience to King George III, they formed the first abolition society in America. The king said, “You can’t do that” and they said, “Watch us – we think God wants blacks to be free. We think all men are equal.”

So you have two — really what you would call radical abolitionists in these two guys, that as an active civil disobedience, start the first abolitionist society. And significantly, with that, you have to go back into American history where that in 1773 you had a number of the northern colonies especially the started passing anti-slavery laws.

You had Rhode Island 1773 that said, “That’s it,” and passed an anti-slavery law. 1774, You have Connecticut, you have Pennsylvania.  You have all of the states started passing anti-slavery laws.

1774 is when King George III stepped in and vetoed every American Anti-Slavery law. At that point, he said, “Hold it guys,” he said, “you’re part of the British Empire.  We have slavery in the British Empire.  As long as you’re part of the British Empire you’re going to have slavery.”

And that’s when several Founding Fathers said, “Great, let’s not be part of the British Empire” and specifically, that’s where Benjamin Rush and Ben Franklin said, “We’re not going to do this.” Now significantly, in the Declaration of Independence, it lists the desire to end slavery twice as often as it lists taxation without representation. We always hear about taxation.

Rick:

Yeah.

Founding Fathers Freed Slaves

David:

We don’t hear about the others. That’s the kind of attitude that you have throughout the Revolution with so many of the Founding Fathers. Now again, not all of them owned slaves and a whole lot of them.  I mean, John Adams said he would have no slave allowed in his house because slavery was so abominable. Samuel Adams actually freed slaves.  People would want to give him a gift and say, “Hey, what can you give more than a slave?” People would give him slaves and, no, sooner as he was given a slave he freed the slave on the spot.  He fought against slavery.

You had a lot of Founding Fathers who never owned slaves, who would not own slaves fought against slavery.  There were hardcore abolitionists but there were others that did have slaves.

And by the way, Ben Franklin here, Ben Franklin also joined with this man right here — this guy sitting right there on the edge is Francis Hopkinson.  Ben Franklin and Francis and back in 1768, started a whole chain of schools for black Americans to teach black Americans academics, and Christianity, and the Bible. Now, under British policy, you didn’t teach black Americans, that kind of stuff.  Illegal that’ll get you in trouble.

Here’s two Founding Fathers, signed the Declaration, said, “We don’t care what the British law is, this is wrong. We are all created equal and we’re going to teach black Americans the same things we teach white Americans and that is the Bible, and Christianity, and academics.”

Anti-Slavery Law

You also have folks like this man here with the hat – that’s Stephen Hopkins. Stephen Hopkins became the first Founding Father to sign an anti-slavery law after we separated from Great Britain.

Rick:

It sounds like a lot of these guys not only were not slave owners.  They were actively trying to get rid of slavery.

David:

You bet they were.

Rick:

They even used it as one of the reasons why we wanted to become an independent nation.

David:

You bet they were. Now the Founding Fathers point out that the three southern states of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, were so strongly pro-slavery that during the Revolution, Congress — the way they they fought the Revolution was they asked every state to meet kind of a quota. Hey you’ve got 5 percent of the population- can you provide 5 percent of the troops in the Continental Army? You got 25 percent of the population — So they would try to spread it out where everybody can participate.

But what happened was, the Founding Fathers who represented the Deep South states, those Deep South states never even met their quotas for soldiers because the plantation owners were so scared to go fight for freedom. They were afraid that if they left the plantation, slaves might escape. And they would stay home and guard those slaves rather than go out and fight for freedom for their state and their country.

Meeting The Soldier Quota

So it was northern anti-slavery States, particularly like Connecticut and Massachusetts, that oversupplied soldiers from these anti-slavery states to have enough troops to be able to fight the British. What you find is among the Founding Fathers, yeah, there were some pro-slavery guys.  There were some slave owners, about 30 percent of the Founding Fathers were pro-slavery.  But they were the exception, not the rule and you have lots of guys who did a lot of work to make sure that equal rights in the Declaration of Independence were extended to all Americans black, white, red, whatever.

Rick:

Okay, David, how about another question from the audience.

Question:

Did black Americans fight on both sides of the Revolutionary War?

Rick:

Well, so the country was somewhat split, right? I mean, it was white Americans the same way – some were for, some were against.  What about black Americans?

David:

There were and sometimes the situation was not good. A great example is a black man named John Moran. John Moran was from New York. When he was about 11, 12 years old, he, they moved to South Carolina.  He wanted to study music. And at 12 years old he was really kind of a child prodigy. He was called on to give concerts all over in South Carolina.

Great Awakening

And he said that one day as he was going to give a concert, he said he passed by an open pasture. In the middle of that field, he said there was a crazy man “who looing” at the crowd. Turned out the guy in the middle was George Whitfield and it was one of the meetings in that Great Awakening. And one of the friends with John who was going to this concert with him dared him to break up the meeting, pull out his French horn, crawl up and break up the meeting. So John said, “I’ll do it.”

So John pulls out his French horn, and this young black American goes and he’s going to play it and break up the meeting.  Just before he did, Whitfield spin’s and turns and points at him and says, “Prepare to meet thy God.”

Rick:

That’ll get your attention.

David:

That’ll get your attention. 12 year old, about to blow his French horn and break up the meeting.  Thinks this is really funny.  But what happened was John fell over and just hit the ground.

It turns out that that was kind of a common phenomenon in the Great Awakening. And so Whitfield finished his sermon and then went over and got young John by the hand, and picked him up, and said, “We need to talk.”

And so Whitfield took him home with him for the next three days, shared with him about God having something for him to do and having a plan for him.  You need to find out what God wants you to do.

Cast Away From His Family, Captured By The British

And so after three days, John Moran said, “I want to be a Christian, I want to be a preacher.” And so he tells his family, “Here’s what’s happened. I’m going to become a Christian.  I’m going to be a preacher.” His family says, “Do not ever set foot in this house again.  We don’t want somebody like you a preacher. There’s no way you can be part of this family.”

So now here’s a 12 year old black boy out on his own and what do you do. And as the American Revolution broke out, the British found him and they impressed him into the British Navy. Remember impressment was one of the causes for the separation from Great Britain. Great Britain would send their sailors in and just say, “You, you’re now a British sailor.  You’re off.  Leave your family.”

And that’s what they did with John. Here’s a country he loved.  Here’s a country where he was preaching.  And the British now forced him to fight against the Americans.

Rick:

He’s not volunteering.

David:

He’s not volunteering. He is forced into British service. And so, yeah, there were blacks fighting on both sides of the Revolution, sometimes not voluntarily.

Rick:

Hey, David, let’s get another question from the audience.

Question:

Black Heroes?  We always hear about Washington and other white heroes of the American Revolution, but didn’t black Americans also fight for independence?

Rick:

The great question. Typically, you only see — when we talk about heroes in the American Revolution it’s white Americans that we see in those paintings.

David:

Well, we think it is.  This painting over my shoulder, a great example of Washington crossing the Delaware. If you ask people today who’s in the boat other than George Washington they wouldn’t have a clue.

Rick:

Yeah, that’s it.

David:

And yet sitting right up in the front of the boat are two black Americans. You have Oliver Cromwell and you have Prince Whipple – two black Americans who served in the American Revolution. They were with the general’s staff throughout the American Revolution, served the general’s staff.  By the way, that is significant they served throughout the Revolution. Your term of enlistment back then was one year. Well, if you served the whole Revolution you re-upped seven times.  That’s a lot of wanting to serve your country.

Rick:

Yeah.

David:

And even the story of Prince Whipple who’s there in the front of the boat — really cool guy. It’s a neat story because his master if you would, he had been a slave, his master was William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Constitution Alive

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Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.

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David:

When the war started, Washington contacted Whipple and said, “Hey, I need your help the in the military, I need you to come be an officer.” And so William Whipple took Prince William and he didn’t consider him a slave.  He really was a slave, but he was just part of the family. And so he took Prince, and they’re heading off to get with Washington and do the fighting.  And William Whipple turns to Prince and says, “Prince, I hope you’ll be really courageous and fight for the liberties of the country.”

Fighting For Freedom

And Prince looked back at William said, “I could fight a whole lot more if I was fighting for my own freedom.” And William looked at him said, “You’re right, didn’t cross my mind.  You’re free right now.”  Freedom on the spot.

Rick:

Oh, wow.

David:

And that’s the way it was for a lot of the Founding Fathers – they had slaves as British citizens.  But they freed them as Americans.

John Jay who is a huge anti-slavery leader in New York at the time, he wrote the Federalist Papers.  He is the Chief Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court appointed by George Washington.

He said that prior to the American Revolution, for so many Americans, it never crossed their mind to think of slavery – particularly slavery in New England. There weren’t all that many slaves up there.  But slaves were more like a part of the family.

Now it was a different view for slaves.  I’m not excusing that at all, but when Prince Whipple turned to William and said, “I’d fight a lot more if I fight for my own freedom.” It’s like an epiphany, “Yeah, of course, you would.  What was I thinking?” And gave him his freedom on the spot.

So here you have Prince Whipple freed by one of the signers of the Declaration who said, “Slavery is a bad deal.  What was I thinking?”

Black Heroes With George Washington

And that’s the kind of attitude that you have throughout the Revolution with so many of the Founding Fathers. By and large, most were not pro-slavery. But the thing about we see white Americans is not black. Well, we see George Washington but we’ve never been pointed out the two guys in front of the boat are black Americans.

Rick:

Yeah, I think the other will surprise a lot of people.

David:

That’s right.

Rick:

Because they’ve seen the painting.  But they’ve never been told that they were black Americans.

David:

Well, consider the painting of the battle of Bunker Hill.  That’s painted by John Trumbull, Founding Father who fought in the Revolution.  He saw so much of what went on. He painted — actually he’s the guy who painted the signing of the Declaration.  John Trumbull painted this.

Well, he painted battle of Bunker Hill — he paints the hero of Bunker Hill right there in the painting and nobody ever noticed it because it’s a black guy. It’s a black patriot named Peter Salem. Peter Salem was the hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill and you see in the painting, he’s standing right there beside Thomas Grosvenor.  I love that image — black and white standing side by side fighting for the freedom of their country.

Peter Salem received more than a dozen military commendations for what he did at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was presented to the commander in chief as the hero of Bunker Hill. They built monuments to Peter Salem – black patriot. We’ve never even heard of that.

Rick:

I was going to say, I don’t think we teach that at all.

David:

Oh no. Who knows who Peter Salem is?

Rick:

Yeah.

David:

As a matter of fact, in the last 20 years, all these academics say, “No, no, no, that’s not Peter Salem.  That is a slave of Thomas Grosvenor.” They don’t know if he owned a slave or not.

I mean the thing is, “It can’t be a free black.  It can’t be a black patriot.  There was oppression all over America.”

States Ended Slavery After Being Freed From British Control

No, there was oppression in some colonies. In other colonies, it was a radically different era – a civil rights kind of attitude. And you have that in Connecticut. Connecticut is one of the anti-slavery States once they get free from Great Britain, no slavery. You have the same thing with Massachusetts.  You have the same thing with New Hampshire, and Vermont.   All these states that ended slavery once they got out from under British control.

Rick:

Well, certainly if you had guys, like you pointed out earlier, that’s re-upped seven times.

David:

That’s right.

Freed Black Heroes Re-enlisted 7 Times!

Rick:

If they only had to fight a year to be free, clearly they were fighting for more than just their individual freedom.

David:

Well, talking about re-upping seven times, another black soldier that was that way was a guy named Lemuel Haynes. Now I have here a very rare sermon this is by Lemuel Haynes.  

You see here Lemuel Haynes at the bottom. Lemuel Haynes is a very special black American. Lemuel Haynes is actually the first black American to receive any higher degree of education.  He got a master’s degree from Middlebury College, but he also was a pastor.

He pioneered churches all over New England.  And quite frequently, he was the black pastor of a white church.  He’s sometimes the black pastor of a black church, but often black pastor of a white church.

But he had been one of the Minutemen down in the early part of the Revolution with Lexington and Concord and all the things that happened there.  And he re-upped in the Revolution several times. And so he serves in the early stages of the Revolution and such was his love for his country, and for his commander in chief, George Washington, and for the Revolution, that in his pulpits in New England, on George Washington’s birthday every year he would preach a special sermon on his commander in chief George Washington with whom he served in the American Revolution. So there is a black who is a great leader, a great educated man, pioneered churches all over New England.  He’s not a slave.

Another really fun painting deals with James Armistead. Now we would never recognize James Armitstead.  Matter of fact, the painting you see is of Lafayette, the young French general at the Battle of Yorktown.

Yorktown’s the final battle in the American Revolution.  And you’ve got young general Marquis de Lafayette – really good patriot he loved America.  He used his own wealth and resources to bring the French Navy and French soldiers to come help and be our allies.

Rick:

And we teach about him.

Hero of the Battle of Yorktown

David:

We teach about him.  He’s definitely covered in the textbooks. But standing right there beside him with a horse, you see the black guy standing there?  Who’s that black guy? That’s his slave, that’s who that is.

No, no, no that is James Armistead.  A really good friend of Marquis de Lafayette and James Armistead.  That black patriot standing right there is the hero of the battle of Yorktown.

Really cool story the way it happened.  James Armistead, black patriot, comes to Marquis de Lafayette, Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette, General Lafayette, and says, “I want to do something for my country.”

And Marquis de Lafayette says, “Well, the problem we’ve got right now is we don’t have good intelligence of what’s going on inside the British camp. We just don’t know what they’re doing till after they’ve done it. If we can get some kind of information from inside the camp fed back to us, it would really help us. It’s a really dangerous assignment.”

And so what happened was James Armistead went straggling over to the British camp at Yorktown and was straggling and says, “Oh, these terrible, mean, Americans.  I hate the Americans.  They so abuse me, so mistreat me.  Would you kind British take me in and take care of me?”

And so what they did was they took James Armistead and assigned him to be the servant to General — British General Benedict Arnold. Benedict Arnold, wait, he’s the traitor.  Yeah, he’s the traitor in America that switched over the British side. So he switches over to the British side. Now he’s a British General and James Armistead has been assigned to be a servant to him.  So James serves him faithfully and takes his meals – whatever he needs.

Well, General Benedict Arnold is all the time meeting with the other British generals and with Lord Cornwallis, head of all the British forces. And so that means that James has all the time going with the other generals.  He’s hearing everything that’s going on — “Let’s move 5000 troops over here.  Let’s set up artillery.”

And every night, he feeds this information back to Lafayette. He said, “They’re about to move 5000 troops, they’re setting up artillery.” Every night, good information back and Washington and all the troops know what’s happening with the British.

After faithfully serving the British for a while, Lord Cornwallis came to James, really impressed that James came out, and said,” James would you consider being a spy for us against the Americans?”

He said, “I know you hate the Americans.  They really mistreated you.  But would you be a spy for us?”

And James is like, “I don’t know, those Americans– well, if you want me to.  I’ll be a spy.”

First Double Spy in America

So, what you have is Lafayette has a relationship with him and Cornwallis thinks he has a relationship.  What happens is Armistead feeds all this bad information to Cornwallis, all the good information to Washington and Lafayette.  

We end up trapping the British out on the peninsula, get them cut off.  And Armistead the hero, first double spy in American history, cut much off the American Revolution, and save scores of American lives. A really cool story about the guy in the painting, James Armistead.  And we’ve never heard of this guy.

Rick:

When you say he’s the hero of Yorktown, I mean, that’s the most– that’s where we win–

David:

That’s where we win.

Rick:

That’s the most important place.

David

Otherwise, the thing would have kept going for a long time. So after the Revolution, when it’s all over and won and Armistead has really been the hero, Lafayette goes back to France because the reason he came is now settled and done.  So in France — and by the way, he fights for liberty in France, but he ends up being thrown into prison.  He’s in the Bastille, and so they imprisoned him because he wants liberty for France and doesn’t get it.

And so all sorts of stuff going on which really ticked the Americans off.  Because here’s this guy who came fight for their liberty now gets back home and gets imprisoned, spent years in prison. When he finally got out of this deal, by the way, he took a key to the door of the Bastille and mailed it to George Washington said, “I want you to have the symbol of our freedom here in France. You know, we’ve done the — gotten rid of the torture in the dungeons, the Bastille.”

Nonetheless, as Lafayette starts growing old, he recognizes, “I will die before too long.  I need to make a farewell tour of America, I need to go back, all the friends I had.”

And he was a hero in America. If you look inside the U.S. Capitol there are two paintings inside the House of Representatives at Capital.  One is George Washington and the other is Marquis de Lafayette. And as you look at the painting, it’s a really old guy, it’s not the same Marquis de Lafayette we had at Yorktown.  It’s a very old guy, and he came back in 1824.

So essentially, we’re talking nearly 50 years after the Revolution he’s come back and he was still such a hero that as he toured all the way across America, everywhere crowds – tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, would show up to cheer him.  They made ribbons with Lafayette on it etc.

Well, as he’s in this massive crowd in Richmond, Virginia, having been gone from America for well over 40 years.  He looked across the crowd and he sees James Armistead, recognizes him instantly, runs across they embrace each other.  You know, great picture again, black and white.

Rick:

Yeah.

David:

But for him to pick out somebody he hadn’t seen in 40 years, a black hero, and a black friend, and black patriot, it’s a really cool story with James Armitstead.

Find Out More About Black Heroes In America

Rick:

Thanks for listening today, folks. Many of you have the DVD set of The American Heritage Series.  You can now get the sequel which is Building on the American Heritage Series.  A lot of new material, some fantastic programs you want to have in your library. You can get it at our website today at WallBuilders.com.

2017-11-16T21:04:51+00:00 November 14th, 2017|Godly History & Good News|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Patricia Larkins-Brown November 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    this commenation is amazing. I am unable to afford any monetary assistance, however, I will pray for this minsistry to continue. I have learned so much for your broadcast and thank you for being so bold. it is encouraging.

  2. Terrell Session November 14, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Awesome job. Great information

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