Reflecting Attucks – Revolutionary Spaces

Reflecting Attucks is a new temporary exhibit exploring the life and legacy of Crispus Attucks, a man of African and Native descent who was the first to fall in the Boston Massacre, an act of protest widely viewed as a turning point on the road to American Revolution.  

Americans have turned the memory of Attucks into a powerful symbol of the courage and sacrifice needed to achieve change over the course of the 250 years since his murder on March 5, 1770.  Reflecting Attucks illuminates how generations of Americans saw their own reflection in the image of a man of mixed race standing in the face of fierce opposition. 

Reflecting Attucks provides a ground-breaking look at Attucks in a moment at which the nation recognizes the vital role that protest and resistance play in American democracy, particularly for communities that have yet to realize the founding ideals of freedom and equality.  

The exhibit illuminates Attucks’s life as a member of the 18th-century Afro-Indian community, which had a deep understanding of many forms of colonial oppression.  From there, Reflecting Attucks explores how Revolutionary-era Bostonians perceived him alternately as both a martyr for the cause and a leader of the mob, and how 19th and 20th century activists invoked the memory of Attucks in pursuit of freedom and equality for African Americans. Throughout, examples of art, poetry and monuments show how changing social conditions influence our memory of Attucks and his place in the pantheon of American heroes.  

We invite audiences to reflect together about this generation might call on the memory of Attucks to build a more just and equitable future tomorrow.  

Due to the pandemic, Reflecting Attucks will be released online in monthly installments starting in late summer 2020.  The physical exhibit will remain on display in Representatives Hall at the Old State House through Summer 2021 and is included in museum admission.


Dig Deeper: Recommended Reading


The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Blog Series

The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Part I
The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Part I

Reinventing Crispus Attucks for the Abolitionist Movement

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The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Part II
The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Part II

Anthony Burns and the Fugitive Slave Act

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The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Part III
The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Part III

Patriot or Fool? Crispus Attucks and the Civil Rights Movement

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The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Part V
The Legacy of Crispus Attucks Part V

From the Boston Massacre to Black Lives Matter

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Other Exhibits

Reflecting Attucks
Reflecting Attucks

New exhibit now through March 2021 at the Old State House.

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Colony to Commonwealth
Colony to Commonwealth

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The Hall at the Old South Meeting House
The Hall at the Old South Meeting House

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Hands-On History
Hands-On History

For young visitors and the young at heart, there's no better way to understand history than to reach out and touch it at the Old State House.

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Voices of Protest
Voices of Protest

Discover compelling people who made a difference at Old South Meeting House and the history of protest and free speech that continues to this day.

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Boston Massacre Multimedia Presentation
Boston Massacre Multimedia Presentation

This light and audio show at the Old State House presents the personal perspective on the Massacre and its aftermath.

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Council Chamber at the Old State House
Council Chamber at the Old State House

Sit in the seat of the British Empire's colonial power and be transported to the birth of American Independence.

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