Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Beat at the Denver Press Club March 7th at 6pm

NEW LISTING Thursday, March 7, 6-7 p.m. at the Denver Press Club located at 1330 Glenarm Pl. Denver, CO 80204 on the second floor in the event room:

BOOK BEAT EVENING with Alan Gilbert, the John Evans Professor at the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies. His new book is titled, "Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War of Independence." Free and no reservations required; just show up.

It was published by the Chicago University Press, which describes the book this way:

We commonly think of the American Revolution as simply the war for independence from British colonial rule. But, of course, that independence actually applied to only a portion of the American population - African Americans would still be bound in slavery for nearly another century. In Black Patriots and Loyalists, Alan Gilbert asks us to rethink what we know about the Revolutionary War, to realize that while white Americans were fighting for their freedom, black Americans were joining the British imperial forces to gain theirs. There were actually two wars being waged at once: a political revolution for independence from Britain and a social revolution for emancipation and equality.

Here's part of a book review by Douglas Egerton

"Historians have long understood that there were two American Revolutions, the triumphant one that culminated in political independence for the thirteen British mainland colonies and the far less successful campaign waged for human freedom. Alan Gilbert's contribution is to demonstrate how the second revolution could have sustained and even hastened the first. Given the large number of Africans and African Americans in the colonies, together with a sizable percentage of whites who remained loyal to Britain, the November 1775 decision by General George Washington and the Continental Congress to cease the enlistment of slaves temporarily handed the military advantage to the Crown.

"Washington quickly came to see the folly of his decision, but the American refusal to adopt more dramatic proposals for black enlistment ... led most black combatants to regard the British as the more dedicated to the cause of social equality. ... armed with new research, Gilbert tells his sprawling story with grace and clarity as he follows his veterans onto the rocky shores of Nova Scotia and the rainy coast of Sierra Leone. As the white patriots they left behind crafted a Constitution that protected slavery and allowed for the importation of more captured Africans, the black refugees struggled to advance the cause of democracy and freedom in each place they settled."

There's more information about the book at

h/t Seth Bradley and Bruce Goldberg

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