The Continental Army during the Revolutionary War struggled to enlist enough men for their quotas, but in Feb. of 1778, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted to allow all African-American male residents to enlist in the military. Initially met with some hesitation, the announcement that any slave who enlisted would be granted freedom at the end of the war resulted in 88 men of color enlisting within four months. The 1st Rhode Island Regiment, also known at different times as Varnum’s Regiment, the Rhode Island Regiment, the 9th Continental Regiment, and the Black Regiment, saw combat at the Battles of Rhode Island, Pine’s Bridge, and Yorktown. Linden Place Museum in Bristol will host the virtual presentation “From Slave to Soldier: A Look at the First Rhode Island Regiment” to explore the regiment’s formation and the legacies of those who chose to enlist. The event is free, but a suggested $5 tax-deductible donation is encouraged for future historical presentations. Interested individuals can register by calling 401-253-0390 or emailing

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