PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (AP) — An annual ceremony to honor the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, a unit with many Black soldiers that fought with distinction during the American Revolution, has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Newport County branch of the NAACP has honored the unit every year since 1967. This year's ceremony was scheduled for next Sunday.
“It is with regret, but out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of the general public, public officials and Newport County branch members and supporters that I am announcing the indefinite postponement of this year’s event that was scheduled for August 30, 2020,” Jimmy Winters, president of the local chapter, said in a statement to The Newport Daily News.
The unit, also called the Black Regiment, in August 1778, won a decisive victory over the British at the Battle of Rhode Island. A monument to the unit is located in Patriots Park in Portsmouth.
The Museum of the American Revolution describes the regiment as “an integrated unit composed of African American, Native American, and white soldiers, who served together from 1778 through the end of the war in 1783."