1776 Black Document Discovered: A Story of Freedom for July 4th

Posted by admin on Jun 22, 2009

The earliest known manuscript about an African-American in the new United States has been identified by a Yonkers dealer.

Dated July 4th, 1776, the handwritten document relates to the life of Cuff Dole, a black who was sold into slavery as a young child by his unscrupulous nurse. Confessing what she had done on her deathbed, Dole became free again, serving in the Revolutionary War.

The document places him inside George Washington’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Called the Barrack on Prospect Hill, the house was later owned by Henry Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and immortalized in a poem.

Dole is believed the first African-American to be mentioned in a document of the newly-independent United States.

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