From Slavery to Freetown: Black Loyalists After the American Revolution

Freetown in 1798 as drawn by William Augustus Bowles, a visiting Creek Indian leader.

During the American Revolution over 3,000 persons of African descent were promised freedom by the British when they deserted their American rebel masters and served the loyalist cause. Those who responded to this promise found refuge in New York. In 1783, after Britain lost the war, they were evacuated to Nova Scotia, where for a decade they were treated as cheap labor by the white loyalists. In 1792 they were finally offered a new home in Africa; over 1,200 responded and became the founders of Freetown in Sierra Leone.

From Slavery to Freetown follows ten of these freed slaves from their escape from masters in Virginia and the Carolinas to their sojourn in New York, their evacuation to Nova Scotia, and finally their exodus to Freetown, where they struggled for another decade for not only freedom and dignity but the right to worship as they chose, make an honest living, and govern themselves.

“An important contribution . . .. Clifford has uncovered a fascinating and underrepresented aspect of the black diaspora.” — Library Journal

Hardcover 1999, softcover 2006, maps, notes, appendix, bibliography, index, 259 pages.

ISBN 0-7864-0615-1

Published by McFarland & Company.