The Williamsburg chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution commemorated the African Americans who served on the American side during the Revolutionary War and who are buried in the Old Elam Cemetery in Ruthville, and served Charles City County in the Revolutionary War. A granite monument engraved with the names of 26 African American patriots from Charles City County is dedicated there.
More than 500 African American Virginians served on the American side in the Revolutionary War. . The SAR believes the national total is as high as 20,000, instead of the 5,000 usually cited by historians. According to French reports, over 25% of those fighting on the Revolutionary side at the Battle of Yorktown were African American.
Elam, founded in 1810, is the third oldest black church in Virginia. The Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution from Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania gathered with church members and local dignitaries gathered to pay tribute to these long-neglected heroes.
Every citizen owes those African American patriots an enormous debt for mobilizing the principles of the Declaration of Independence in the pursuit of happiness.
Judith Ledbetter of the Charles City County's History Center is lobbying to create a genealogy program to educate students and determine how many could be descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers. Research among fourth-graders suggests that over 50 percent could be children of the American Revolution. Profiles of descendants and a roster of soldiers are posted at the county's Web site (www.charlescity.org)
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