by Judy Luo
Though not much is known about Crispus Attucks’ life, he is famous for being one of the first heroes of the American Revolution.
Scholars believe that Attucks was of African and Native American heritage, a common mixture during colonial times. Most white Europeans in the 18th century regarded both blacks and Native Americans as inferiors, but Attucks distinguished himself as the equal of any Patriot.
On the eve of the American Revolution, many British troops were stationed in the colonies to enforce tax laws passed by the British. Many colonists disliked the presence of British soldiers as well as the tax laws they enforced. On March 5, 1770, the discontent of some Americans reached a boiling point. A large crowd of people in Boston, Massachusetts, began provoking a group of British troops. Things got out of hand quickly. Both sides started attacking each other, and the soldiers eventually shot at the crowd, killing five colonists. Among the five dead in the Boston Massacre was Crispus Attucks.
The Boston Massacre ultimately led to the American Revolutionary War. Attucks was heralded as the war’s first martyr.
Later in history, famous African-American civil rights leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., held Attucks up as an example of black patriotism at the beginning of our nation’s history. Native American groups also claimed him as one of their own. These groups argue that Attucks represents America’s multicultural beginnings and should be honored like other Patriots. Attucks’ involvement in the Boston Massacre reminds us that the desire for independence was not limited to one race. Many diverse groups of people have contributed to American history.
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