Presented By Roger Smith
During the American Revolution the British military offered freedom to enslaved blacks who fled to British camps to fight against the rebellion. But there was often a catch. This offer wasn’t available to those whose owners were loyal to the Crown. For those taken-in, many were cast aside when disease swept through a camp, or abandoned to an oncoming American army during retreats; some were resold into slavery. For a great many people these promises of liberty were a complete façade, designed only to ruin the highly profitable southern plantation-economies of the newly-founded United States. But many did indeed regain control of their own destinies against all odds. The role of British East Florida in this tragic era of American history needs to be understood. The heroics and heartbreaks of southern blacks demands to be heard.
Dr. Smith received his Bachelor’s Degree in History in 2006, a Master’s Degree in American History in 2008, and a Ph.D. in Early American History and Atlantic World Studies, with a certificate of scholarship in Museum Studies, in 2011 – all from the University of Florida. His work on the American Revolution in the South has received the Aschoff Fellowship Dissertation Award and the Jack and Celia Proctor Award in Southern History. Dr. Smith’s upcoming book, The Last Union Jack, discusses the little-told story of British intention and military activity in the southern colonies from 1775 – 1780, as recorded from a British perspective.
Dr. Smith now represents the firm of Colonial Research Associates, Inc., and speaks across the South on his Revolutionary War research. His current projects include the new AMC television series Turn, a spy thriller set on Long Island, New York, in 1778. Dr. Smith provides historical research for Super Music Vision, the music production company for this and other AMC programs. You may also see Dr. Smith speak of Florida’s Revolutionary War history in the documentary, America: the Prequel, a four-part series on the 450-year history of the city of St. Augustine. Most recently, Dr. Smith is in the process of selecting several primary stories of interest from his 5 ½ years of research on this topic and reworking them into a series of six 32-page supplemental texts that are designed to reach a broad general audience and will include state standard requirements in the Humanities and Social Sciences for the State of Florida’s public school systems. The first two books in the series, “The 14th Colony: George Washington’s Planned Invasions of East Florida” and “Hope of Freedom: Southern Blacks and the American Revolution,” are available and may be found on the company website, www.ColonialRA.com. Book three, “Women of the American Revolution: Lost Voices of America’s First Generation,” is in production and will be available by spring 2016.
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