Friday, February 5, 2010
AS SEEN IN:
"Swing Out, Sweet Land"
AS PLAYED BY:
Crispus Attucks (c. 1723 – March 5, 1770) was the first of five people killed in the Boston Massacre in Boston, Massachusetts. He has been frequently named as the first martyr of the American Revolution and is the only Boston Massacre victim whose name is commonly remembered. He is regarded as an important inspirational figure in American history.
Little is known for certain about Attucks beyond his death in the conflict. Two major sources of eyewitness testimony about the Boston Massacre, both published in 1770, did not refer to Attucks as a "Negro," or "black" man. The first was a report commissioned by the town of Boston, "A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre," which contained over one hundred depositions from locals about what they saw on March 5, 1770.
The second source, "The Trial of William Wemms," referred to Attucks more than a dozen times as a “mulatto” or “molatto,” and once as an “Indian,” another as a “tall man,” and yet another as a “stout,” or muscular man. While 19th-century anti-slavery advocates later focused on Attucks' African heritage, Bostonians in 1770 considered him mixed-race.