On a recent trip to Lexington and Concord, I photographed the Prince Estabrook memorial located in a prime spot near Buckman Tavern overlooking the Lexington Battle Green. The memorial was dedicated in April 2008 and pays tribute to a slave and soldier named Prince Estabrook who fought with Captain Parker’s militia in the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775. Estabrook was wounded in the battle. While visiting the memorial, I wondered how many teachers across the country were aware that an African American had fought for freedom in this historic battle even though he was still enslaved. If they knew that a slave had participated and displayed such bravery in the first battle of the American Revolution, I’m sure it would be something teachers would want to include in their curriculum.
Reporter Alice M. Hinkle was of a similar mindset in 1987 after she had the opportunity to interview Charles H. Price Jr., past commander of the Lexington Minute Men for a newspaper article. For more than 20 years, Price had played the role of Prince Estabrook during the annual Patriot’s Day battle reenactment. This interview with Charles H. Price Jr. served as an introduction to Prince Estabrook and made Alice M. Hinkle want to learn much more about a man who in her words had “slipped between the cracks of history”. In late 1994, she began a research journey that spanned nearly seven years and involved visiting sites, searching through archives and following numerous leads. In 2001, her hard effort was rewarded when Alice M. Hinkle’s outstanding book Prince Estabrook, Slave and Soldier was published. Copies can be purchased today from the Visitor Centers in both Lexington and Concord as well as other sites along Boston’s Freedom Trail.
Below is a video from the dedication ceremonies of the Prince Estabrook memorial in April 2008 with wonderful speeches by William Hinkle, husband of the late author Alice M. Hinkle, and Charles H. Price Jr.