Bike and Kayak Tour – Day 8: We passed the midpoint of the Tour as Sal pedaled 95 miles to push his total mileage since Newport to more than 400. We began with a farewell shot at the Princeton Battle Monument, then went to the Trent House in Trenton, built in 1719, where we were welcomed by Paul Larson and W3R Leadership Council member Sam Stephens.
Then we entered Pennsylvania, where, at Sal’s suggestion, I drove straight to Valley Forge National Historical Park rather than try to follow him through the narrow, congested streets of central Philadelphia. Our next scheduled activity was not until 2:30 p.m., so I had time to buy a few books in the gift shop and take a self-guided driving tour of the park. The ceremony was held at the Patriots of African Descent Monument, erected in 1993 by the Valley Forge Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Mandel Smith, chair of the sorority’s Patriots Committee, and committee member Bonique Thompson-Harris joined us. Mandel shared the story of the monument, the first in a national park to commemorate patriots of African descent who served in the Revolutionary War. Three different images represent the societal roles of Colonial Blacks and their purpose in joining the struggle for independence – free men who volunteered to fight, slaves who received freedom as payment for their service and slaves who served as soldier substitutes for their masters or attended them on the battlefield, only to return to their previous condition of servitude after the war. Sal noted the importance of sharing the unfamiliar stories of the war.
After going to Mass at Mother of Divine Providence Church in nearby King of Prussia, I reconnected with Sal in central Philadelphia and we returned to his brother’s home in Princeton. We return to Philadelphia in the morning and set out for Wilmington.