Here is an interview with Noah Lewis, who provides a unique insight into the Battle of the Brandywine and into the African-American contribution to the fight for American Independence. Come see this live demonstration September 12th-13th at Chadds Ford Days 2015.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, etc.?
I was born in Germany in a military family. I grew up mostly in Fort Knox, Kentucky and Aldan, PA.
How did you end up in Chadds Ford Days, and how many years have you attended?
I have been attending for more than ten years. I was asked by the Historical Society to attend to represent one of soldiers that was at the battle.
What do you demonstrate and how did you get started in it?
I began presenting the hero Ned Hector in 1996 at Bywood School, where I would go into my daughter’s 4th grade class and do presentations on electricity and biology. Mrs. Freeberry, my daughter’s teacher, asked if I had any presentations for the subject of colonial America.
During recent genealogical research on my family I had learned about a black continental soldier who fought in the Battle of Brandywine and was held in such high regard by his community that they named a street after him in the mid 1850s. I was amazed and fascinated by Edward Hector and the heritage of other black historical figures who contributed to America’s freedom.
After thinking over Mrs. Freeberry’s request, I informed her I would be honored to present this subject. Would she mind if I came dressed out? She gave me the nod, and I returned the following years. In 2000 the suggestion was made that I should take this program to other schools. It sounded good, so I did.
How did Ned Hector play into the lives of colonists around Chadds Ford/what is his historical significance?
Ned represents the Black contribution during the Revolutionary War. Many wrongly think colonial Blacks were only slaves, or only poor people, and if in the military, they were nothing but manual laborers. I hope what I do will help our present day culture to appreciate what colonial Blacks did to help all present day Americans to be free.
What do you want people to remember about your demonstration?
African-Americans helped America to be free. African-American history is American history and as such, it belongs to all Americans. All Americans need to embrace it.
Are there any interesting facts/common misconceptions surrounding it?
3 to 5 thousand African-Americans fought for the American cause. 7 to 10 thousand served the British side.
General Washington would command the most integrated army until 1948 when Harry S. Truman would integrate the army for Korea.
General Washington would also command at least 3 largely Black units, the Marblehearders from Massachusetts, the 1st Rhode Island, and the Bucks of America.
By the end of the war 10 to 25% of General Washington’s army would be People of Color.
What in particular can we look forward to seeing from you this Chadds Ford Days?
An interactive presentation that will help the public to understand The Battle of Brandywine from Ned’s perspective, what a teamster is, what an artillerist is, and the contributions made by Colonial Blacks to our present day freedom.