Many Black slaves had no other choice but to enlist as war frontiers with the hope of gaining their freedom as slaves. Cato Freedom was one of them.
The plight of many slave men some two hundred years ago was never an importance to the White American. Most slaves who made efforts to gain freedom at that time faced cruelty and those who tried to flee were severely punished. Meanwhile, other African-Americans were given the option to serve as military men in the revolutionary war; that was a means of gaining emancipation from enslavement.
Many African-American military men never made it through the Revolutionary War. However, the few veterans, who made it through the war, were not recognized, neither were any records about them kept.
African-American veteran, Cato Freedom, some two centuries after his death has been honored for putting his life on the line as a military man in the American Revolution War. Out of the 5,000 African-Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War. Cato Freedom was somehow documented as a veteran at the age of 84, according to records assembled by Professor Harry Bradshaw Matthews of Hartwick College and also the president of the U.S. Colored Troops Institute.
“The first major exodus from slavery occurred during the American Revolution, we didn’t see another mass exodus out of slavery until the Civil War,” Matthews said during an interview with The Daily Star on Tuesday.
In an effort to create awareness of such African-American heroes like Freedom, the Otsego County Historical Association in conjunction with Matthews are making efforts to acquire a historical marker to be placed near Freedom’s family burial plot outside Garrattsville in Butternut Valley Cemetery off County Route 16.
Otsego County during Freedom’s migration served as the fledgling nation’s frontier land, and that was the place where Freedom bought a piece of land for his family. Luckily, Freedom lived longer than most African-Americans at that time. He died at the age of 96, filing an affidavit in Otsego County, that he received an honorable discharge for serving in the Third Regiment of the Connecticut Line through September, 1783.
There are many of such heroes as Cato Freedom, who put their lives on the line for America, and they all deserved to be honored for their immense sacrifices.