Little Known Black History Fact: Colonel Stephen Blucke

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  • Colonel Stephen Blucke of Barbados was a leader of the black regiment that fought for the Brits during the American Revolution. Colonel Tye had led the black regiment until he died in battle. Soon after, Colonel Blucke, a then free and literate black man, would take over the entire regiment as Commander, around 1782.

    As the Revolution got heated, the British would lure the slaves with a promise of freedom and land if they joined them in war. There were an estimated 100,000 slaves that answered the call. The men were among the famous Black loyalist military units called the Black Pioneers or Black Brigade. They were a small elite band of guerrilla fighters. The Black Brigade fought on their own until they were combined with the white unit called the Queen’s Rangers.

    One year later, Blucke would settle his soldiers in Birchtown, Nova Scotia to build a new settlement based on new land grants. The area became the largest settlement of blacks outside of Africa.

    The men found that the living conditions were unstable. Sixty percent of the Black Brigade received very little or no land. As a result they were forced to work as casual laborers, sharecroppers, and domestic servants. Colonel Blucke did what he could to improve conditions, by building a boat and a commodious home for the people and building connections in the black and white communities. He would seek out cheap labor for the white community and give employment to the blacks.

    In 1788, rumors had spread that Colonel Blucke had misused funds. Only a few years later, one fifth of the blacks that Blucke had originally settled in the area were under his care.

    By 1792, Colonel Blucke had disappeared.

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