Crispus Attucks was an American sailor and a stevedore who is believed to be the first person killed during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. He has been made into a folk hero as the first-ever American to sacrifice his own life during the American Revolution. He is considered a symbol of American patriotism and was elevated to the status of an icon of the anti-slavery movement in the mid-19th century. While the exact details about his family and life are not known, it is believed that he was born to an African-born slave and a Natick Native American. He was probably an escaped slave who went on to rebuild his life as a successful free man-a rarity in the 18th century when slavery was rampant in America and Africans were considered properties of the white men.
On March 5, 1770, he led a group of people in a protest against a British soldier who had hurt a young barber’s apprentice. The feud became intense and a troop of British soldiers opened fire on Attucks and his men, killing a few and injuring many. Attucks was the first man to die. This incident proved to be a major catalyst in the early stages of the American Revolution. Following his death, he was lauded by the supporters of the ‘abolitionist movement’ and was widely recognized as an African-American man who played a significant role in shaping America’s history.
Crispus Attucks Bio/Wiki
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Crispus Attucks Family, Education & More
Crispus Attucks Born into slavery around 1723, Attucks was believed to be the son of Prince Yonger, a slave shipped to America from Africa, and Nancy Attucks, a Natick Indian. Little is known about Attucks’ life or his family, who reputedly resided in a town just outside of Boston. What has been pieced together paints a picture of a young man who showed an early skill for buying and trading goods? He seemed unafraid of the consequences of escaping the bonds of slavery. Historians have theorized that Attucks was the focus of an advertisement in a 1750 edition of the Boston Gazette in which a white landowner offered to pay 10 pounds for the return of a young runaway slave.
Crispus Attucks, “Ran away from his Master, William Brown of Framingham, on the 30th of Sept. last, a Molatto Fellow, about 27 Years of age, named Crispus, 6 Feet two Inches high, short curled Hair,” the advertisement read. Attucks, however, managed to escape for good, spending the next two decades on trading ships and whaling vessels coming in and out of Boston. He also found work as a rope maker.
Crispus Attucks High School
Crispus Attucks High School (Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School) of the Indianapolis Public Schools in Indianapolis, in the U.S. state of Indiana, is named for Crispus Attucks, an American patriot killed during what became known as the Boston Massacre. The school was built near Indiana Avenue northwest of downtown Indianapolis and opened on September 12, 1927, when it was the only public high school in the city designated specifically for African Americans. Despite the passage of federal and state school assimilation laws, Attucks was the city’s only high school with a single-race student body in 1953, largely due to residential discrimination, and remained a restricted school until in 1971 (although some historians suggested that it occurred in 1968). Attucks was converted to a junior high school in 1986, due to declining enrollment, and a middle school in 1993. It became a medical magnet high school in 2006, partially due to the school’s proximity to the campus of the Indiana University School of Medicine and its associated hospitals.
The red-brick building with terra-cotta and limestone detailing covers a two-square-block area and was built in three phases. A three-story main building, designed by local architects Merritt Harrison and Llewellyn A. Turnock, was constructed in 1927. A three-story addition and a two-story gymnasium were built in 1938. A newer, two-story gymnasium was constructed in 1966. The main building and the 1938 addition reflect Collegiate Gothic (or Tudor Revival) and Classical Revival styles of architecture. The high school was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. During its early years, Crispus Attucks was known for its excellence in academics, in addition to its successful athletic teams, especially its basketball program.
The high school also became a gathering place and a source of pride for the city’s African American community. In 1955 the Attucks Tigers won the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s state basketball championship, becoming the first all-black school in the nation to win a state title. In 1956 the team became first state champions in IHSAA history to complete a season undefeated since the state basketball tournament began in 1911. Crispus Attucks also won the IHSAA state basketball championship in 1959, and in 2017 was the IHSAA’s Class 3-A basketball champion.
Prior to the Boston Massacre
- In 1750, a slave owner, William Brown announced that he would pay an award of ten pounds to whoever found his runaway slave, Crispus, whom he described in an advertisement. This piece of information makes it complicated for historians to ascertain his status during the Boston massacre. While many suggest that he was the runaway black slave in question, the others believe that he was already a free man by then.
- The ones who believe he was a free man at the time of the Boston Massacre state that he was a sailor and a dock worker. He spent a long time of his life working as a stevedore along the Atlantic seaboard.
- Others believe that he went by the name of “Michael Johnson” to live a free life under disguise and had just returned from the Bahamas in early 1770. He was supposed to leave for another trip for North Carolina when the Boston incident happened.
The Boston Massacre
- In 1768, British soldiers came to Boston to control the colonial unrest which had erupted after the introduction of the ‘Stamp Act’ and the ‘Townshend Acts’. But the presence of troops made things worse and tensions started to pile up.
- It was on March 5, 1770, when the unfortunate Boston Massacre happened. It started with an allegation from a boy who stated that a sentry had not paid a barber his bill. The boy was reprimanded severely just for asking for the payment. The colonists and the British soldiers of the 29th Regiment of Foot gathered where the confrontation was taking place and tensions started to rise.
- Attucks was one of the colonists who gathered at the place. It is suggested that they had wooden pieces with them. Some sources state that the troops were attacked with clubs by the mob—led by Attucks—following which they opened fire. However, another eyewitness stated that Attucks was simply leaning on a wooden pole when the troops fired shots.
- Attucks was among the five colonists who died that day, taking two bullets in the chest. He is believed to have been the first of the five people to die that day. There were also six more colonists who were severely injured due to the shooting.
- The autopsy of Attucks’ body was done by the county coroners, Robert Pierpoint and Thomas Crafts Jr., and afterward, it was carried to Faneuil Hall where it was kept for three more days.
Crispus Attucks Facts
- Both Crispus Attucks’s parents were slaves.
- At only 16 Crispus Attucks was sold to William Brown.
- Crispus Attucks was a slave owned by William Brown in Framingham, Massachusetts until 1750 when he escaped at the age of 27.
- When Crispus Attucks escaped William Brown put an advertisement in the Boston Gazette for his return. It read ‘a Molatto fellow, about 27 years of age, named Crispus, 6’2″ high, etc,’ Crispus was never recaptured by William Brown.
- Crispus Attucks used the name Michael Johnson to help with his escape from William Brown.
- For the first 10 years after escaping slavery Crispus Attucks worked as a whaler aboard whaling ships.
- For the next 10 years, Crispus Attucks worked as a rope maker and as a sea merchant.
- While working as a rope maker and sea merchant the tensions began to rise in Boston over the occupation by British soldiers.
- Several fights broke out between Bostonians, sailors and the British soldiers leading up to the Boston Massacre.
- On March 5th, 1770 a group of sailors, including Crispus Attucks, protested against the British in front of the customs house in Boston. As the approximately 50 protestors advanced towards the British they repeated the words: “Don’t be afraid.”
- As the group of sailors approached the soldiers the soldiers opened fire. The first person killed was Crispus Attucks. He was shot in the chest by Hugh Montgomery.
- Four others were killed by the British soldiers including Samuel Gray, Patrick Carr, James Caldwell, and Samuel Maverick.
- This incident became known as the Boston Massacre.
- The funeral for the victims of the Boston Massacre was attended by approximately 10,000 people.
- At trial, most of the soldiers at the Boston Massacre were found not guilty. Hugh Montgomery, the man who killed Crispus Attucks, was found guilty of manslaughter. Matthew Killroy was also found guilty of manslaughter. The rest were found not guilty because the jury decided the soldiers were provoked.
- In 1858 abolitionists celebrated a Crispus Attucks Day in his honor.
- A monument of the Boston Massacre was erected in 1888 at Boston Common.
- A silver dollar was issued in 1998 by the United States government to honor the birth of Crispus Attucks and the black Revolutionary War patriots (there were roughly 5000).
How Old Was Crispus Attucks When He Escaped Slavery?
About 27 Years Old, Crispus Escaped Slavery On September 30, 1750, When He Was About 27 Years Old.
Why Did Crispus Attucks Die?
Was Crispus Attucks A Patriot Or Loyalist?”]Crispus Attucks Is Considered To Be The First Black Patriot Because He Was Killed In The Boston Massacre. Attucks Was Commemorated By His Fellow Bostonians As A Martyr For Freedom. Of Mixed Native American And African Ancestry, He Was A Fugitive Slave Who Had Escaped In 1750 From A Farm In Framingham, Massachusetts.
What Was Crispus Attucks Real Name?
Born Crispus Attucks C. 1723, Framingham, Province Of Massachusetts Bay, Died March 5, 1770 (Approximately Aged 47) Boston