Occasionally, records identified someone as black, but for the vast majority of those soldiers and sailors, their distinction as black or Native Americans was lost, and with that the fact that thousands of blacks and Native Americans fought for their country's independence.
Now, after years of pressure by two Plainville natives, many black and Native American soldiers are properly identified. In May, the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution published a book that lists those veterans and identifies them as either black or Native American.
The book, "Forgotten Patriots—African American and American Indian Patriots of the Revolutionary War," names 5,000 black soldiers and an additional 1,600 who were Native Americans. They were among the estimated 250,000 Americans who fought in the war.
Turns out they were right. The Americans were more likely than the British had been to break treaties and oppress the Indians.
For more on the subject, see Fun 4th of July Facts.