Join the RIHS and Battle of Rhode Island Association as we welcome historian Dr. Shirley Green to present on her latest book Revolutionary Blacks: Discovering the Frank Brothers, Freeborn Men of Color, Soldiers of Independence. William and Benjamin Frank joined the Second Rhode Island Regiment in the spring of 1777, following the tradition of military service established by their father, a veteran of the French and Indian War. The brothers became part of a cohort of free Black soldiers serving in an integrated Continental Army, before being transferred to the newly segregated First Rhode Island Regiment. This unit was composed of Black and Native American soldiers, including enslaved men who were promised their freedom in exchange for service. The “Black Regiment,” as it became known returned to its home state, where it fought with distinction at the Battle of Rhode Island in August.
In Revolutionary Blacks Green takes readers on a journey based on her family’s history, rooted in its oral tradition. Putting together the pieces of this puzzle through archival research, interviews, and DNA evidence, the author authenticates and expands the family’s oral history. In addition to providing context and substance to the Black experience during the war years, the author underscores the significant distinction between free Blacks in military service and those who had been enslaved, and how they responded in different ways to the harsh realities of racism.
Shirley L. Green received her Ph.D. in history from Bowling Green State University after a twenty-six year career in law enforcement. She is an adjunct professor of history at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University. She is currently the Director of the Toledo Police Museum in Toledo, Ohio.
Attendance is free, but registration is required. Guests can register here.