The Black Majority Regiment of the American Revolution Needs You Now!

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Increasingly, students of the American Revolution are aware of the Non-White majority 1st Rhode Island Regiment that marched to Yorktown and played a key role in forcing the British surrender on October 19, 1781, making American independence possible. Indeed, Black and Native American soldiers were present in most units during the revolution, when the American army was more racially integrated than it would be until integrated by order of President Truman in 1948.

Unfortunately, most Americans still are not aware of this history, and there is an urgent need to educate the public as we approach the 250th anniversary of the nation in 2026.

In Trenton, New Jersey, American Revolutionary War reenactors have dedicated themselves to telling these stories of diversity, led by Algernon Ward, a lifelong Trentonian. He and his colleagues were models for Don Troiani’s “Brave Men as Ever Fought” depiction of the Rhode Island regiment as it passed through Philadelphia en route to Yorktown, on display at the Museum of the American Revolution.

W3R-US has been working to find funding for a monument to this regiment that, like the painting, would be based on the likenesses of those reenactors. In 2022, a short video was created to describe the project for an unsuccessful grant application.

Recently, Algernon announced he has been diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer, increasing the urgency to create a monument for Trenton, that might later be replicated in other Washington Rochambeau National Historic Trail towns. With help from the Sons of the American Revolution, we have already raised $11,000 of $18,000 needed for Phase 1, which involves 3D digital scans of Algernon and two fellow reenactors for a three-soldier tribute to these brave men as ever fought.

Please consider donating now to help W3R-US complete phase 1 of this project, which will be followed by a larger campaign to obtain all needed funds to create the first such monument in Trenton. To donate, visit the W3R-US donation page and select “Rhode Island Regiment Monument” to dedicate your donation to this project.

Algernon Ward points to the image of himself in Don Troiani’s “Brave Men as Ever Fought.”

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