ALMOST INVISIBLE: Black Patriots of the American Revolution
This picture book for children, written and illustrated by Kate Salley Palmer, is a collection of well-researched stories about black patriots who distinguished themselves in helping the colonies gain independence.
Did you know that during the Revolutionary War over 5,000 African Americans fought in the Continental Army? General George Washington call his force of Continentals his “mixed multitude”. Did you know that the first American to die for independence from Great Britain was black? His name was Crispus Attucks, and he, along with four other patriots, died in the “Boston Massacre” in 1770.
Two African Americans who fought valiantly alongside their white neighbors at the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 were Peter Salem and Lemuel Haynes. Another black patriot was James Armistead, who was a spy for the French Commander, General Lafayette, who helped the Americans defeat the British at Yorktown.
Due to slavery in the South, blacks were not allowed to fight, but there were a few exceptions, such as Oscar Marion, a slave who fought alongside the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion, from 1780-82 in South Carolina. ---------- Kate was inspired to write this book by a third grad student at Sheridan Elementary School in Orangeburg, SC. While Kate was speaking to students about her other Revolutionary War history picture books (Palmetto: Symbol of Courage & Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox), a young student named Marshall Ellerbee III asked Kate, "Were there any black heroes of the Revolutionary War?" Kate replied that she didn't know, but would do research and maybe write a book.
Kate dedicated the book to the young student who asked the question (whom she didn't know at the time), and his teacher remembered his question and the student's name. Kate went back to Sheridan and met Marshall and gave him an autographed copy of the book. The whole story is described in an article in the Orangeburg Times and Democrat titled "INVISIBLE NO MORE: Author answers question with new book dedicated to Orangeburg student."