Slavery and the American Revolution | Newberry

Slavery and the American Revolution

Led by Richard Bell
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Four sessions. Wednesdays, November 17-December 15. Class will not meet on November 24.



For the Fall 2021 term, we’re offering a mix of virtual and in-person classes. Although we are still primarily virtual, you will find a smaller selection of in-person seminars in the schedule. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. Registration opens on September 1st at 9am (Central time). Registration will take place through our online platform, Learning Stream.

Seminar Description

The American Revolution was a transformative moment in African American history, a freedom war second only to the Civil War in significance. African Americans threw themselves into the revolutionary war effort with more enthusiasm and with more at stake than did many white colonists. The chaos of the war itself brought many enslaved men new opportunities for independence, as the British Army promised freedom to those willing to desert their rebel masters and join the King’s regiments. But after the British surrendered and evacuated, black fortunes would diverge dramatically. In the north, patriot victory spurred the rise of the antislavery movement, but in the south that same great victory helped entrench plantation slavery for generations to come.

Four sessions. Registration – $170

Richard Bell is professor of history at the University of Maryland. He is author of the book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home, a finalist for the 2020 George Washington Prize and the 2020 Harriet Tubman Prize.

Materials List


  • There are no required materials.

First Reading:

  • There is no first reading assignment..

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, September 1st . Newberry Associates members at the Literati level and above will have access to early registration beginning August 25th at 10am. Learn more about membership benefits and becoming a Newberry Associate.

Please note: The Newberry is moving to a new registration system called Learning Stream. This will simplify the registration process for participants, instructors, and staff. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.