MassMoments reminds us today of the Boston Massacre that played out over several days in early March of 1779. Boston was a tense town with many in the populace unhappy with British troops in occupation. For many months there were taunts and skirmishes with the troops that culminated in actions and gunfire that left several wounded and five dead including an African-American named Crispus Attucks. While the actual facts of the event remain unclear – the certainty is that the Boston Massacre became the rallying cry for the colonial patriots againist British rule and that Crispus Attucks is honored and remembered to this day as “the first to defy, the first to die.”
…in 1770, Crispus Attucks, a black man from Framingham, and four other civilians were shot dead by British soldiers. Attucks worked on whaling ships and, between voyages, as a semi-skilled laborer around the port of Boston. There were many men—white and black—who resented the presence of the British Army, not so much as a threat to their rights as self-governing citizens but more as a threat to their already precarious economic position. They were ready to follow Attucks when he led them into a violent confrontation with a group of British Regulars. Although the soldiers were acquitted on the grounds of self-defense, the incident has been known ever since as the Boston Massacre.