Revolutionary Westchester 250 Highlights Contributions of Black Soldiers, Indigenous Soldiers and Women in the Revolutionary War 

Judith Kalaora (shown in uniform) portrays Deborah Sampson who, during the Revolutionary War, was the first woman to enlist, fight, and be honorably discharged from the American Military.

As the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States approaches, there is no better time than Black History Month (February 2024) and Women’s History Month (March 2024) to highlight the under told stories of the black soldiers, indigenous soldiers and women who fought for and created this country. The local non-profit organization Revolutionary Westchester 250 (RW250) is working to share a more complete picture of Westchester County’s crucial role in the war that includes the diversity of those involved in the war effort.

RW250 President Constance Kehoe commented, “There was much broader participation in the American Revolution than many realize. Women played an essential role in local encampments, caring for soldiers and sometimes themselves fighting. Free black men picked up their muskets to enlist as did enslaved men who were promised freedom at the end of the war.” She continued, “Wappinger Sachem Daniel Nimham, Captain in the American Army, along with his son and nearly every adult Wappinger male gave their lives fighting for America in what was then Westchester County. It is important that our county’s commemoration be an inclusive depiction of local sacrifice and success.”

RW250 is sponsoring a presentation in Ossining by author Shirley L. Green, Ph.D. as part of the Bethany Arts Community (BAC) Black History and Culture Exhibit: BLACK PRESENCE. PROFOUND INFLUENCE. The exhibit, running February 2 through March 8, will include the role of black soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Joyce Sharrock-Cole, BAC board member, Village of Ossining Historian, and member of RW250 Advisory Committee said, “RW250 connected us to the Living History Co. We are excited that they will portray Revolutionary era black soldiers and black women who were camp members during our February 2 opening reception.” Sharrock-Cole continued, “We are grateful to RW250 for sponsoring Dr. Green’s presentation on her book Revolutionary Blacks: Discovering the Frank Brothers, Freeborn Men of Color, Soldiers of Independence as part of our exhibit.” Dr. Green’s February 22 presentation will start at 7 pm after a 6 pm reception at the Ossining Public Library (free but registration required at

Shirley L. Green, Ph.D, author of Revolutionary Blacks: Discovering the Frank Brothers, Freeborn Men of Color, Soldiers of Independence.

RW250 is also sponsoring a presentation by Dr. Green on February 24 at 10 am at the Grinton I. Will Public Library in Yonkers (free but registration required at In both presentations, Dr. Green will discuss the experiences of William and Benjamin Frank, brothers who enlisted in Rhode Island Regiments during the American Revolutionary War in 1777. The brothers’ experiences include two major battles and the tragic circumstances met by Rhode Island soldiers at Pines Bridge (Yorktown, NY) in 1781. Dr. Green will talk about the significant distinction between free Blacks in military service and those who had been enslaved, and how they responded in different ways to the harsh realities of war.

RW250 is sponsoring a one woman living history experience by Judith Kalaora, founder of History at PlayTM LLC, at the Greenburgh Public Library on March 27 at 6:30 pm. In A Revolution of Her Own,TM Kalaora portrays Deborah Sampson, the first woman to enlist, fight, and be honorably discharged from the American Military. Disguised as a man and fighting in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, Sampson was wounded near Tarrytown. Families are encouraged to bring school-aged children given the youth focus of this experience (free but registration required at

George Latimer, Westchester County Executive stated, “Westchester County holds a unique position in the tapestry of the American Revolution, boasting numerous crucial historical sites. In the narrative of our heritage, it is imperative to illuminate the pivotal roles played by indigenous, African-American, and female figures. Through RW250, we embark on a journey to tell the complete story, ensuring that these historical figures’ voices and contributions are acknowledged and celebrated, forging a richer and more inclusive understanding of our shared past.”

Kehoe added, “Our commemoration of Westchester’s singular role in the Revolutionary War cannot be fully understood without including the names and stories of Captain Sachem Daniel Nimham, the Frank Brothers of the Rhode Island Regiment, Deborah Sampson, and other black and indigenous soldiers and women.”

Residents and visitors can stay informed about these and other upcoming events by subscribing to Revolutionary Westchester 250’s monthly e-newsletter at They can also follow the organization on Facebook @revolutionarywestchester250 and on Instagram @revolutionary_westchester_250.

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