J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Talk on an African-American Veteran in Natick, 12 November

On Sunday, 12 November, at 2:00 P.M., Bruce Harris will present "Peter Salem—Fighting in the Hope of Freedom," the story of an African-American veteran of the Revolutionary War, at John Eliot Memorial Hall in Natick, Massachusetts. This is a free event sponsored by the Natick Historical Society.

Bruce is the Executive Director of the Literary Trail of New England. He combines the skills of a historical researcher, actor, and teacher. Last spring I had the pleasure of performing the Longfellow National Historic Site's presentation on George Washington and slavery with him; he, having worked at Mount Vernon, took the part of Washington.

As for Peter Salem, he was in arms during the Battle of Lexington & Concord. He fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and one tradition says that he killed Maj. John Pitcairn as the British Marine officer entered the provincial redoubt near the end of that battle. (Other traditions point to other shooters, and Pitcairn may of course have been hit multiple times.) There is indubitable evidence that Salem served steadily in the Continental Army from 1775 to 1780 in units that were at Saratoga, Valley Forge, Monmouth, and Stony Point.

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