Sunday, March 5, 2017


Crispus Attucks


(1723-1770)


March 5, 1770 - Crispus Attucks becomes one of the first casualties of the American Revolution.

The first black casualty in the American Revolution was Crispus Attucks.  He was not enlisted in an Army but instead was part of a Boston group protesting the Townsend acts.  Tensions in Boston were already high when Attucks and his companions, who are said to have come from the Boston docks, approached the British garrison.  While protesting at the garrison housing the British soldiers who were to enforce the acts, Attucks and several others were shot.  This event came to be known as the Boston Massacre and is considered to have triggered the American Revolution.  The details of Attucks early years are not well known.  It is to believed that he wa of African and Native American ancestry, that his father was a slave, and that the family lived in Framingham, Massachusetts. He is also identified as a merchant seaman.  Further speculation, based on a 1750 advertisement in the Boston Gazette, identifies Attucks as a runaway slave.  However, historians are more definite about placing him in Boston in 1770.  The Crispus Attucks Monument, in honor of the victims, was dedicated in the Boston Commons in 1888.
(sources: jet 91 (10 March 1997), p. 19; Jet 95 (8 March 1999), p. 19; smith, Notable Black Americans Men, pp. 40-42.)

On February 13, 1998, the U.S. Mint issued a commemorative silver dollar honoring more than 5,000 blacks who served in and supported the Revolutionary War.  In addition to a design on the front side, the back of the coin features black patriot Crispus Attucks, the first person killed in the Boston Massacre.  The incident figured prominently in beginning the American Revolutionary War.  The Black Patriots Foundation unveiled a design for the coin on October 22, 1997; Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin endorsed the design on October 1.
(source: Washington Post (22 October 1997)


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