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Baltimore Tour Group Highlights The Role Of African-Americans In The War Of 1812

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– History lost now remembered. A local group is making an effort to tell the story of African-Americans who contributed to the War of 1812.

And as Rochelle Ritchie explains, it’s starting with children.

The director of the tour says it’s important to showcase how blacks played a pivotal role in the past to inspire the lives of children in the future.

Fifty kids from the YMCA beat the heat Thursday afternoon to travel around the city learning about the role blacks played in winning the War of 1812.

“I lay this wreath in honor of our African-American ancestors in the War of 1812,” one girl said.

The kids played dress up and heard the stories of black ancestors like Samuel A. Neal– played by Art Artus Jenkins– who was a black man who fought against the British.

“Giving them a glimpse of what we encountered in the War of 1812 will enable them to understand that the truth nor assistance will come without out work,” Jenkins said.

The statue in City Hall represents 15 to 25 percent of black sailors that fought in the War of 1812, their contributions rarely documented.

“That’s the whole purpose of our tour company is to tell the history of Baltimore from a different perspective,” tour guide Thomas Saunders said.

At the Flag House, a picture portraying Mary Pickersgill– the designer and seamstress of the original Star-Spangled Banner– hangs on the wall. What the kids didn’t see in the picture: The young black girl who helped sew it.

Jocelyn Green told the story of 13-year-old Grace Wisher, a black servant girl who helped thread her way into history.

“I can say, ‘Oh, I stitched that part and that part too’,” Green said.

Her story inspiring the youngsters.

“I learned that people worked hard to do stuff,” one kid said.

Two hundred-year-old history forgotten, now coming back to life, inspiring one child at a time.

The kids also visited Fort McHenry to learn about two black men who were given the rare chance to enlist.

Nearly 5,000 slaves who escaped during the War of 1812 went to fight for the British.

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