March 12


Bucks of America flag
Oil paint on silk , circa 1789
This flag wasn’t used during the American Revolution, but was probably made in Boston, Massachusetts, and presented to the military company circa 1789.

The Bucks of America, an all-Black military company, seems to have operated in a military capacity in Boston. Very little is known about the service of this company except that toward the end of the American Revolution they were recognized in a ceremony in which Governor John Hancock presented this silk flag (originally white, now aged to a soft tan) to the Bucks of America.

Although some interpret the initials on the flag, “J.G.W.H.” as abbreviations of the names of John Hancock and George Washington in an incorrect order (for example in The Liberator, 12 March 1858, Theodore Parker wrote, “[t]hus John Hancock embraces George Washington”) it is possible that the initials are the abbreviation of John George Washington Hancock (1778-1787), the son of Governor John Hancock.

(In the book The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution, the historian William C. Nell wrote that the governor and his son presented a banner to the Bucks of America.)


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