May is Preservation Month! Even in these times of physical distancing, our preservation team often visits the Old State House and Old South Meeting House to ensure proper care of our historic sites. Along the way, they always stick to physical distancing guidelines, working more than 6’ away from others, and wearing masks anytime they go downtown. While the rest of us are busy working from home, we caught up with our preservation team to learn more about them and… Read more Get to Know Our Preservation Team
Recently, a small group of us gathered to hear Charles Coe perform poetry, exploring memory, life, and loss. Watch as Charles reads two of his original poems, “Love in the Time of Corona” and “Something in the Wind.” LOVE IN THE TIME OF CORONA (with apologies to Gabriel García Márquez) by Charles Coe In ancient Greece, men shook hands as a demonstration of good faith to show they weren’t armed. In these days of fever and fear we keep our… Read more Poetry in the Time of Corona
This post is written in response to “How the 18th Century Responded to Illness Before Netflix and Zoom,” published on April 6, 2020. Last week, we published a blog post describing how six prominent 18th-century Bostonians lived and dealt with illness in their lives. This piece drew on previous research for the “character cards” we use at the Old State House museum — a tool designed to help visitors move past the mythic dimensions of Revolutionary history and think about… Read more How the 18th Century (Actually) Responded to Illness
Every day that we adapt our lives to stay inside and protect each other or go back on the front lines as an essential worker in this epidemic, we show our capacity for resilience. While this current moment feels unprecedented, Bostonians have been through crises before, building resilience along the way, together. Like all of us, Old South Meeting House has been through its fair share of challenges. Ordinary Bostonians have worked for years to keep the Meeting House cared… Read more Resilience at Old South Meeting House
In these uncertain times, we’ve been reflecting on how the founding generation lived and dealt with illness, just as we’re all doing today. We took a look at how six prominent Bostonians managed illness in their lives before the times of widespread vaccines and constant social media updates. Read on to learn more about Dr. Joseph Warren, Paul Revere, Dorothy Quincy Hancock, John and Abigail Adams, and Dr. Thomas Young. Dr. Joseph Warren was a prominent member of the Sons… Read more How the 18th Century Responded to Illness Before Netflix and Zoom
Over the almost 250 years since his death, Crispus Attucks has remained a symbol for various movements advocating for African American rights, from Abolitionism to the Civil Rights Movement. 21st Century movements have been no different. Attucks’s identity has been yet again recovered by the grassroots Black Lives Matter movement.
On October 17, 1976, to mark the bicentennial, the Boston Equal Rights League and the City of Boston held a ceremony in honor of Crispus Attucks, whom many considered an African American patriot and the first martyr of the American Revolution.
As civil rights leaders argued for basic freedoms for African Americans as American citizens, Crispus Attucks became a symbol of the continuous contribution of blacks to the nation. Many viewed his actions on that fateful day in March 1770 as a demonstration of the deep patriotism of blacks since the founding of this country, patriotism that African Americans still celebrate many years later.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was a contested law that gave Southern slaveholders the power to intrude in Northern cities and take alleged fugitive slaves back to captivity. Animated by the hotbed of abolitionism taking hold in the city, Boston activists worked to maintain the freedom of fugitive slaves and even fought violently to maintain black freedom. Under these circumstances, many abolitionists invoked the memory of Crispus Attucks to justify their actions and called upon the need for black freedom.
Most Americans today recognize the Paul Revere print of the Boston Massacre. Thanks to every high school U.S. history textbook, Revere’s print is the image that comes to our minds when we think of the “Bloody Massacre” on March 5, 1770. But when we look at the famous print today, we realize that someone is missing from the scene: Crispus Attucks.