Fighting for Freedom: African Americans and the War of 1812

Time Period
1764 to 1824
Media Type
Black History
Military History
Gene Allen Smith

On Wednesday September 4, Gene Allen Smith delivered a banner lecture entitled “Fighting for Freedom: African Americans and the War of 1812.”

Images of American slavery conjure up cotton plantations and African Americans locked in bondage until the Civil War. Yet early in the nineteenth century the state of slavery was very different, and the political vicissitudes of the young nation offered diverse possibilities to slaves. Though surprising numbers of slaves did assist the Americans in the War of 1812, the conflict created opportunities for slaves to find freedom among the British.

The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812 by Gene Smith offers a fascinating and original narrative history of an extraordinary yet little-known chapter in the dark saga of American history.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.