Deborah Sampson: Revolutionary

Deborah Sampson was born on December 17, 1760. Always a patriot, she became a hero of the American Revolution by disguising herself as a man and joining the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment. She was the only woman to earn a full military pension for participating in the Revolutionary Army. Sampson enlisted in 1782. American women were first legally allowed to hold combat positions in 2013. It took over 230 years for the U.S. military to lead by Deborah Sampson’s example.

The story of Deborah Sampson’s life and military career is an important chapter in the story of the struggle for equal rights. Over the years, women have fought hard to be treated fairly in the military, the job market and in day-to-day life. Ms. Sampson is a symbol of how the roles of women in society have changed, and a reminder of the changes yet to come.

Thank you for being a part of the Professional Educators Network. We hope you enjoy this new installment of History’s ARTifacts. Please watch the educational video with your students, download the poster by this month’s artist, Jordan.


Meet the Artist: Jordan

Jordan meet the artist

Jordan is a visual and performance artist from Minneapolis, Minnesota who now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her choreography explores the overlap between dance and sculpture by performing stillness and repetitive movements. Jordan has exhibited at The White Page, Rochester Art Center, ACRE Projects, The Soap Factory and Franconia Sculpture Park. Her performance work was recently presented at Lynden Sculpture Garden and the Walker Art Center. She is the editor of INREVIEW, a free art-criticism publication.


Activities for Deborah Sampson: Revolutionary

  • The story of Deborah Sampson’s experiences can teach us a lot about equal rights. Create a series of questions that you will ask six different adults that you know. Your questions might be about jobs, role models, raising children or life in general. Ask the same questions to three men and three women. How are the answers different? How are they the same?
  • During the Revolutionary War, Deborah Sampson posed as a man so she could serve in the military because women weren’t allowed to enlist. Imagine her in the modern-day world and write a short story based on her experience. What would Deborah Sampson’s life be like today?
  • This month’s Deborah Sampson poster was created in the Pop Art style. Pop Art is typically based on modern culture, images and media. Create your own Pop Art piece based on a well-known historical event.

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