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1763-1815: The American Revolution & A New Nation

Image: see caption below
Romare Bearden. Roots Odyssey.
Screen print, 1976. 28 3/4 x 22 7/8.
Ben and Beatrice Goldstein Foundation Collection,
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

© Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.


During the course of the slave trade, millions of Africans became involuntary immigrants to the New World. Some African captives resisted enslavement by fleeing from slave forts on the West African coast. Others mutinied on board slave trading vessels, or cast themselves into the ocean. In the New World there were those who ran away from their owners, ran away among the Indians, formed maroon societies, revolted, feigned sickness, or participated in work slow downs. Some sought and succeeded in gaining liberty through various legal means such as "good service" to their masters, self-purchase, or military service. This area explores the methods used by Africans and their American-born descendants to resist enslavement, as well as to demand emancipation and full participation in American society. Strategies varied, but the goal remained unchanged: freedom and equality.

African American Odyssey: Slavery--The Peculiar Institution

People, Places and Events

  1. Crispus Attucks (1723?-1770): The Boston Massacre reflected growing tension between Great Britain and its American colonies. Crispus AttucksAfrican-American sailor was the first to fall.
    Sailor, martyr of the Boston Massacre.

    First Hero of the American Revolution.
  2. Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806): Successfully predicted a solar eclipse, published an almanac, surveyed the site of the District of Columbia (D.C.)
    Benjamin Banneker

    Mathematician and Astronomer

    Self Educated Scientist
  3. Phillis Wheatley (1753?-1784): First African American poet to be published
    Phillis Wheatley

    First African American to Publish
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  July 30, 2010
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