port of harlem magazine
Khismet Wearable Art, Millee Spears
The Society of the First African Families of English America Honorees
May 02 – May 15, 2024
philliss wheatley

The Society of the First African Families of English America, in its annual conference held in the historically significant city of Philadelphia, honors heroes and legends whose lives have impacted history, culture, and the American way of life. These individuals, often with deeper personal stories that have been overlooked, ignored, or misrepresented, are the focus of the gathering at the Museum of the American Revolution on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4:

PRIVATE PRINCE AMES - of African and Indigenous descent and enslaved by Captain Benjamin Ames of Andover, Massachusetts. The patriot enlisted as a soldier in the American Revolution as a substitute for his enslaver and served nearly 70 months from 1777 to 1783.

RHONDA BRACE - participated in the first global conference on Slavery, Past, Present, and Future held at Mansfield College, Oxford University in England in 2015. She descends from Revolutionary War patriot Jeffrey Brace, Private, Connecticut Continental Regiment.
A'LELIA BUNDLES - she descends from Revolutionary War patriot Ishmael Roberts, Private, North Carolina Continental Regiment.

JOSEPH LOUIS COOK, or Akiatonharónkwen - attained the position of lieutenant colonel, becoming the Continental Army's most senior officer of both African American and Native American heritage. Born around 1736 to an African father and an Abenaki Native American mother, A Mohawk family adopted Cook after Mohawk warriors captured him during a raid. A Mohawk leader and warrior, he earned distinction in the French and Indian War. Post-war, Cook dedicated himself to Indigenous rights and land advocacy for the Mohawk and other Iroquois allies.

DR. SHIRLEY GREEN - author of “Revolutionary Blacks: Discovering the Frank Brothers, Freeborn Men of Color, Soldiers of Independence.” She put together the family puzzle pieces through archival research, interviews, and DNA evidence.

DENNIS LLOYD—His lineage traces back to Darby Vassall, a notable abolitionist and key figure within Boston's free Black community. He was also the son of Tony and Cuba, enslaved individuals owned by a family instrumental in the establishment of Harvard's law school.

PAUL ROBESON - He descends from Cyrus Bustill, who was known for his roles as a brewer, baker, abolitionist, and community leader during the American Revolution era.

PETER SALEM - born into slavery around 1750 in Framingham, Massachusetts. After being freed by Major Lawson Buckminster, he joined the Continental Army, playing a crucial role in battles such as Bunker Hill, reputedly killing British Major John Pitcairn. He fought alongside other Black Minutemen in significant engagements such as Saratoga and Stony Point. Salem passed away in 1816, initially buried in a pauper's grave. In 1882, Framingham, Massachusetts, commemorated his legacy with a monument acknowledging his and other African Americans' pivotal roles in founding the United States of America.

PHILLIS WHEATLEY - the first African American woman and only the third American woman to publish a book of poems. The publication of "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral." brought the Senegambian-American fame both in England and the American colonies.

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