Recorded November 10, 2020
African American leaders in late 19th century Boston fought to create a lasting monument to Crispus Attucks on Boston Common. They forged a broad coalition of supporters, including Irish American leaders, and ultimately prevailed in creating a monument to Attucks and the other victims of the Boston Massacre, whom opponents cast as “hoodlums, rioters and ruffians.”
Monumental Attucks explores the story of the monument’s creation, and reflect on how monuments bring us together and when they drive us apart.
- Robert Bellinger, Associate Professor of History at Suffolk University, and author of Monuments, Memorials and Historic Sites, New England’s Visible Black History in Photographs
- Millington W. Bergeson-Lockwood, author of Race Over Party: Black Politics and Partisanship in Late 19th Century Boston
- Mitch Kachun, Professor Emeritus of History at Western Michigan University, and author of First Martyr of Liberty: Crispus Attucks in American Memory
- Byron Rushing, former Massachusetts State Representative and past president of the Museum of Afro-American History.
Reflecting Attucks is a virtual exhibit that explores the memory of Crispus Attucks, a man of African and Native descent who was the first to die at the Boston Massacre, an act of protest widely viewed as a turning point on the road to American Revolution.
Over the next several months, we will delve into Attucks’s world and look at how generations of Americans have seen their own reflection in the image of Attucks standing in the face of fierce opposition. By remembering him as a martyr, leader and courageous fighter, they fueled freedom movements that changed the course of history.
Digital Exclusive Reflecting Attucks Content
- An American HeroAttucks takes his place in the pantheon of national heroes in the popular consciousness.Read more →
- Imagining the MassacreArtists draw on the memory of Attucks’s role in the Massacre to help navigate moments of national crisis.Read more →
- Facing AttucksWith no confirmed portrait of Attucks, artists draw on their imaginations to bring him to life.Read more →
- Attucks in ArtArtists portrayed Attucks to remind the nation that people of African and Native descent are central to the American story.Read more →
- Fighting for EquityIn Boston, Attucks’s legacy became a powerful tool for Black leaders facing white backlash against desegregation.Read more →
- Fighting for EqualityA new generation of activists invokes Attucks’s story to challenge white supremacists at the turn of the 20th century.Read more →
- Fighting for A Place in the CityAs Black communities faced new threats and challenges following the Civil War, Black Bostonians took up the cause of creating a monument to secure Attucks’s legacy.Read more →
- Fighting for FreedomPresented as the first martyr of the Revolution, Attucks’s legacy is revived to serve the cause of abolition.Read more →
- Fighting for IndependenceAttucks’s death at the Boston Massacre became a rallying point on the road to Revolution.Read more →