Now that we've decided that the Founding Fathers might be more diverse than whoever signed a document or showed up for the Constitutional Convention, let's make good on our assertion. Time to learn about Lemuel Haynes, a true patriot whose writings inspired a much more aspirational -- and forward-thinking -- idea of American freedom.
Haynes was the son of a white mother and African father, and worked as an indentured servant before enlisting in the colonial militia -- many don't realize that more than 5,000 Africans (both slaves and free) fought in the Revolutionary War [source: White House]. A writer and poet, Haynes penned in 1776 an influential essay called "Liberty Further Extended" in response to the Declaration of Independence. A treatise against slavery, Haynes argued that liberty for one group of people justly meant freedom for all.
Haynes went on to become a preacher, where his congregations included both white and black worshippers (not the norm of the day.) But "Liberty Further Extended" is still considered one of the most forceful Revolutionary-era arguments against slavery, and one of the first authored by an African-American.