A new documentary, Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution, introduces us to heroes of the American Revolution who aren't typically found in history books. They are a writer, a double agent, a martyr and a soldier—and they are all black.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the executive producer. He is a Hall of Fame basketball player, writer, activist, and in 2016 the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Abdul-Jabbar says he was born and raised in New York City, in "the last part of Manhattan that George Washington controlled before he had to leave and escape and go to Valley Forge," he says. "You know, I read about that incident in my history books, and I was surprised to find out that it happened in in my neighborhood. So after that, you know. My experiences as a child, we often would find like musket balls and arrowheads in the parks. Right there in northern Manhattan. And you know, I felt a real connection to the history of that area."
On why we don't know these stories
Well, we don't know the stories already because people who write history books, or who have written most of the history books have focused on what European Americans thought, and what their objectives were, and what they did to make those objectives become real. And anybody who was not European was not seen as being worth depicting, because their stake in it seemed to be non-existent. This nation was founded by white people, for white people. At the time, blacks were not allowed citizenship. Women were not allowed to vote. Native Americans were not allowed citizenship. That's the way it was back in those days.