Valley Forge National Historical Park and the Valley Forge Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. unveiled two waysides highlighting the contributions of soldiers and civilians of African descent in the American Revolution.
On June 18th, 2022 near the Patriots of African Descent Monument in Valley Forge National Historical Park, the Sorors of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and National Park Service (NPS) staff unveiled two new interpretive wayside panels as part of the annual wreath laying ceremony at the monument.
The ceremony featured a bell ringing, procession, speakers, and wreath laying. Participants placed thirteen wreaths at the monument to represent the thirteen original states, and a brief story of a specific African-descended patriot from that state was read while each wreath was placed.
The new waysides are part of a larger effort across the NPS to increase visibility of the contributions of persons of many underrepresented groups to the American Revolution. These panels specifically highlight the Patriots of African Descent Monument, the first monument on federal land to commemorate patriots of African descent in the Revolution and one of only a few in the United States.
It sits on the edge of the park’s Grand Parade and near the encampment site of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, a storied Continental Army unit comprised mostly of soldiers of African and Native American ancestry. The monument was planned and dedicated in 1993 by the Delta Sigma Theta Patriots Committee of the Valley Forge Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Delta Sigma Theta and NPS staff worked together to design the themes and layout of the panels, which are intended to connect visitors to the experiences and contributions of Black patriots during the American Revolution.
In addition to the new waysides, a stone patio and bench were installed to provide a space for visitors to rest and contemplate. Both new waysides feature custom artwork by Everette Brown, an African American digital artist. Proceeds from the Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-Mile Run provided financial to support the project.
The public is invited to learn more about the history and significance of the Patriots of African Descent Monument by visiting here.