- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 20, 2006

BOSTON (AP) — Thousands of black men fought for American independence during the Revolutionary War, yet their contributions rarely appear in modern history books.

Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the Sons of the American Revolution are hoping to change that with an ambitious project to identify those soldiers and their descendants.

“My first goal with this project is to enhance the awareness of the American public of the role of African-Americans in the struggle for freedom in this country,” said Mr. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard.

“Plus, my concern is that there are many people walking around, like me, who had no idea that I had an ancestor who fought in the Revolution,” he said.

Mr. Gates said he was inspired to begin the project after he learned that he had a relative who fought in the Revolution during filming of the PBS documentary series “African American Lives.”

The project, funded by Harvard and the Sons of the American Revolution, will identify blacks thought to have fought in the war and encourage their descendants to come forward.

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