Claiming Freedom in the Revolutionary Era

African American soldiers in the Revolutionary War marching down a dusty road with rifles
"Brave Men as Ever Fought" by Don Troiani
Beginning in 2022, the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom began a multi-year project to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. This project highlights the untold stories of enslaved people seeking freedom during the Revolutionary Era. Research has been conducted by a team of interns guided by Network to Freedom staff and historians, as well as scholars engaged in the field of study, and we have also coordinated with other national park sites, including Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia and their internship team.

The project will explore various topics, including the military service of freedom seekers during the Revolutionary Era, self-emancipation during the chaos it brought, and identifying the patterns and methods in freedom seeking. In addition, researchers will create biographical sketches of individuals, a database of those who sought and found freedom, and related primary documents. On this site, learn more about the story of freedom seekers during the Revolutionary Era, the project team, our partners, educator resources, and more.


Claiming Freedom in the Revolutionary Era is a partnership of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Foundation, and the Greening Youth Foundation. The project seeks to explore the meaning of freedom during the Revolutionary Era by researching the lived experience of enslaved individuals associated with national park sites. As the nation prepares to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the research on freedom seekers in the Revolutionary Era will highlight the stories associated with African American freedom and civil rights, and it is these stories we will tell here.
 
signed on November 7, 1775, by John Murray, royal governor of the British colony of Virginia
Freedom Seekers

Discover stories of freedom seekers during the Revolutionary Era

Photograph of intern Jada posing in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
Research Team

Learn more about our project research team

Logos for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Network to Freedom, and National Park Service
Partnerships

Find out more about our partners behind Claiming Freedom

Last updated: October 10, 2023