Cesar Beman marched and fought with black and white soldiers during the Revolutionary War up and down the Hudson River. But he wasn’t supposed to be there.
“He fought in place of the man who enslaved him,” says Jesse Nasta, a visiting professor of African American Studies at Wesleyan University. He says Cesar was one of thousands of enslaved people in New England. “It was sort of a compensation that he would be manumitted.”
There were almost 300 African American soldiers in the Revolutionary War from Connecticut alone, Nasta says.