History Hero: Antoine Watts
Antoine Watts is preserving and teaching American history in a unique way — with his voice, with his dress, and his music. The Philadelphia native is a Revolutionary and Civil War Reenactor with the 1st Rhode Island Regiment of Foot and the 3rd Regiment United States Colored Infantry from the Civil War. Many re-enactors study and play the part of real people — and through their work bring those people to life in a way. Antoine recreates many legends of African American history. Says Antoine, who can trace his family roots back to the 17 hundreds: “I am a Civil War era civilian impressionist portraying Professor Jacob C. White jr, Educator, Agitator, and the first Black School Principal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and an 18th Century civilian impressionist portraying Joseph Bologne Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a Frenchman who was a fencer, marksman, officer in the Kings personal bodyguard.” We met him while working on a re-enactors program called “Living History.” In his brief few words spoken in Haddonfield, New Jersey, he spoke volumes about teaching young people history. It’s not just about guns and cannon fire. It’s about discovering our past, and what is uniquely American — the blending of the world’s people in one place.
“Of course, I’m the son of slaves, but I’m also the son of English and Irishmen, and I’m also the sons of Native Americans. If that’s not more American than anything else, I don’t know what is.”
Antoine Watts, Historic re-enactor
You will meet him in our video called “Living History.” The Town of Haddonfield, just outside Philadelphia has a popular revolutionary war reenactment each year called the Skirmish in early June
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“History Heroes” are profiles of people young and old we meet along the way sharing their love of the past.