The book documents roughly 6,600 black, American Indian and mixed-race Patriots, whose names a team of DAR genealogists culled by cross referencing military rolls with census records in library reference rooms from Providence, R.I., to Albany, N.Y.
Racism and vicissitudes of history have long kept the numbers of minorities in DAR low.
“Only 5,000 of nearly 400,000 American soldiers in the Revolution were black,” said Eric Grundset, director of the organization library.
Some were freed slaves who joined voluntarily ... others bartered their service against promises of earning freedom and others went to fight in place of men who at that time in history owned them.
The most known rejection was when Eleanor Roosevelt renounced her membership in protest of a woman of color being denied the opportunity to sing at Constitution Hall, a building owned by DAR members in Washington, D.C.
A book written by Dr. Raymond Arsensault, “The Sound of Freedom,” stamped DAR at that time (1939) as racist, as the group that barred Marian Anderson, a world-famous black contralto, from performing in the Constitution Hall, a large beautiful full-block building used for numerous events in Washington.
The DAR, nationwide, has for decades attempted to attract members of diverse backgrounds. In doing so, it had to overcome many decades of bad press.
The Ocoee Chapter is pleased to inform members of the recent new members of color and to encourage anyone interested in finding their roots to ask local members or search www.DAR.org.