Let me put on my schooling cap and give you some facts about a person that I honestly I didn't hear of until last year (shout out to the Rockdale Public School System) and I was determined to do a blog just to pass a long the knowledge because I feel he was a great unsung hero in black history who deserves to be recognized one way or another, even if it is this dumb blog (and maybe I'll write a screenplay for him one day).
His name is Mr. James Armistead Lafayette.
Here's his picture :
& here's a cartoon version for all of my 10 & under readers :
He was born in the 1700's in an undetermined city in the great state of Virginia (what up Milt?). Just like all of the other blacks in America in the 1700's, he was enslaved. Also in the 1700's the Englishmen (white folks) who migrated to America got into a little spat with the Englishmen back in their mother country. This is what historians would call the Revolutionary War.
Now James Armistead was a peculiar brother in my books. On one side you have the 13 colonies of America who enslaved black people and on the other side you have Britain who also enslaved black people but promised these slaves freedom once the war was over. America didn't offer this deal to their slaves. Mr. Armistead requested and received permission from his owner (William Armistead) to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1781. He wasn't a brave warrior. He wasn't a decisive strategist. He wasn't even on the front line (or the back line). He was a spy. Marquis de Lafayette was a commander for the U.S. and employed Armistead as a spy to collect data from the British forces.
He put on an oscar-worthy performance and approached the British army as a runaway slave from North America. While serving under Benedict Arnold, Armistead gathered intel that led to a sneak attack on Arnold's infantry and a near capture of the traitor.
For his next and greatest performance, Mr. Armistead posed as a waiter (ala Forest Whitaker in the Butler) for the headquarters of General Charles Cornwallis. While the British general and his cohorts blabbed their mouths about future plans, Armistead, with memory like an elephant, relayed his findings back to Lafayette and the U.S. was able to derail the Brits from sending an additional 10,000 troops to battle and give the Americans a decisive victory at the Battle of Yorktown and ultimately the Revolutionary War.
After the war was over, you'd figure that Armistead would've been awarded his own holiday, a stamp, a street, or something. NOPE! Back to slavery he went.
A couple of years later, Armistead was finally granted his freedom and decided to add Lafayette to his name in honor of the commander who he had served under during the war. Lafayette also wrote a letter of recommendation requesting the freedom of Armistead.
Armistead concluded his life as a farmer in the state of Virginia with his family, and he died in 1830.
A true American Hero!