QUESTION: Who is Crispus Attucks?
ANSWER: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. mentioned Crispus Attucks in his 1964 book, “Why We Can’t Wait,” noting that “ the first American to shed blood in the Revolution that freed this country from British oppression was a black seaman. “
Indeed he, Crispus Attucks, on March 05, 1770 during what is now known as the Boston Massacre was the first American shot dead by the British military and became a symbol for the Colonial America to start the Revolution.
Crispus Attucks was an American stevedore of African and Native American descent and is regarded as the first American killed in the American Revolution. Two major sources of eyewitness testimony about the Boston Massacre published in 1770 did not refer to him as “black”– it appears that Bostonians viewed him as being of mixed ethnicity. According to a contemporaneous account in the Pennsylvania Gazette, he was a “Mulattoe man, who was born in Framingham, but lately belonged to New-Providence, and was here (Boston) in order to go forth to North Carolina.”
Over the 250 plus years Attucks became an icon of the anti-slavery movement in the mid-19th century. Supporters of the abolition movement lauded him for playing a heroic role in the history of the United States, and more recently the Black Lives Matter have brought up his legacy.
Crispus Attucks needs to be view and honored as an African American whose death literally started the road to America’s freedoms.
Newspaper depiction by Paul Revere of the Boston Massacre that ultimately circulated though out the Colonies – we should note that all the “portraits” of Crispus Attucks on the internet are based on a visual by a publishing house artist in 1952 and have no authenticity as to how Crispus Attucks looked like.