USC Salkehatchie Assistant Professor of History David W. Dangerfield presented a lecture to the Rebecca Motte Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Old Exchange Building in Charleston. His lecture, “Liberty and its Limits: Free People of Color, the American Revolution, and South Carolina,” surveyed how African Americans experienced the Revolution and their interactions with both the British and American sides.
“British policies offered freedom to any enslaved person held by a colonist who was in rebellion against the Crown. Yet in South Carolina, American leaders sometimes paid new recruits for service by giving them an enslaved person after 10 months in uniform,” Dangerfield said. “Still, there were enslaved and free persons of color fighting for the Americans.”
Dangerfield recognized some such men from Charleston, Moses Irvin and William Davis, who became free after serving with the patriots. Long after the war, these two free Black men used their prior military service to improve their standing in the community.
The lecture was part of a series of guest speakers hosted by the Rebecca Motte Chapter of the D.A.R. The chapter’s regent and USC Palmetto College alumna, Catherine Hyman, also gave an informative biographical sketch on a Revolutionary War figure from the Barnwell area, Tarleton Brown.
Professor Dangerfield will return to the Charleston area to present research on antebellum free people of color for the Daniel Island Historical Society on May 17 at 7 p.m. at Daniel Island’s Church of the Holy Cross. For more information, see dihistoricalsociety.com.