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February is Black History Month

The Story of Boston King

February is Black History Month

February is a time to celebrate the stories, rich culture, and historical journeys of African Americans in the United States. Join us this month in our Black History Month series, where we will reflect, honor, and celebrate African American history, culture, art, and leadership.

The Story of Boston King

Boston King, one of the settlers of Sierra Leone, was born enslaved on the Richard Waring plantation in outside of what was Charlestown around 1760.

At the time of the American Revolutionary War, our state was majority Black, a situation that kept many Lowcountry planters from sleeping well at night. They did not sleep at all when the British offered post-war freedom for any Black person who sided with them during the Revolutionary War.

If you were Black and heard of the offer, what would you have done? Risk your life by trying to escape the plantation, or simply accept that your life will never be yours to live? Boston King made the escape.

He would make his way to New York City, then Nova Scotia, then Sierra Leone, and finally London. A religious man—a Methodist minister for that matter—his is the story of Job as he cries out to God time and time again, only to return to his Christian faith.

There is no South Carolina landmark associated with the life of Boston King but what we do have available is an historic rarity: An enslaved man’s autobiography titled, "Memoirs of the Life of Boston King, A Black Preacher", self published in 1790.

King's story reminds us that liberty was not just a simple matter of escaping.

When we discuss the American Revolution, we should not only know powerful and influential leaders. We should also remember the millions of individuals from all backgrounds who fought for their own freedom.

-Bill Fitzpatrick
Board Chair

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