Say His Name! Crispus Attucks.
n 1770, the British police killed an unarmed Black man at a protest in Boston. That man was Crispus Attucks, and he is now known as the first casualty in the American Revolution.
There are far too many people in this country calling themselves “patriots” who fail to educate themselves on some basic American history. These people wrapping themselves in the flag and condemning protesters would be entirely unrecognizable to the true patriots who won this country’s freedom. The Trump flag waving “proud boys”, “three percenters”, “patriot prayer” and others would have been entirely unwelcome amongst the protesters of the late 1760’s and 1770’s.
Modern “patriots” would have called the revolutionaries “antifa”. The revolutionaries would have called the Trump boys Royalists and King’s Men.
In the 1760’s, the people of Boston started taking to the streets to protest government overreach. Boston soon gained a reputation as a city full of radicals and trouble makers. These protests went on for years, until the King decided to intervene. In 1768, King George sent in the feds...excuse me, I meant to say the Red Coats. He sent a full regiment of the British Army to quell the unrest and restore “law and order” in the radical port city.
Then, as now, this tactic didn’t work. It turns out that the tactic of sending cops to beat and kill protesters until they love the government has never been an effective one.
The protests continued despite the federal...excuse me, Royal...troop presence. In fact, the unrest went on for another TWO YEARS, in which the King sent a total of four regiments to Boston. Far from quelling the discontent or de-escalating the tensions, the presence of each additional cop...excuse me, British soldier...just made matters worse.
In February of 1770, a crowd gathered to protest a British Customs agent named Ebenezer Richardson. Some windows were broken, so the feds...excuse me, Red Coats...fired into the crowd and killed an 11 year old boy named Christopher Seider, the son of immigrants. Christopher’s murder became a rallying cry for the people of the city. His funeral was described as being one of the largest to ever take place in Boston.
On March 5th, 1770, a British Soldier beat up a young boy just because he could. He had a uniform and a rifle, and permission from the crown to commit acts of violence with impunity. The people of Boston, furious at years of such treatment from the “law and order” of King George, took to the streets. The Churches rang their bells to encourage people to come out, and the protest continued all day and into the evening.
The protest crowd looked like Boston. It was made up of the young and the old. The rich and the poor. White and black. Among the assembled crowd was a man who had escaped slavery to live free in the radical city of Boston.
His name was Crispus Attucks.
As tensions grew, the protesters began to throw water bottles...excuse me, snow balls. The Red Coats felt threatened and “feared for their lives”, so they declared the assembly a riot and formed up in a crowd control formation. After being struck by a snowball, a young British Private named Montgomery fired into the crowd. The formation followed suit.
The Red Coats shot 11 protesters. Three died right away, the first of whom was Crispus Attucks. Several more died of their wounds in the days to come.
After the Boston Massacre, the Royalists and King’s Men tried to rewrite the narrative. It wasn’t a protest, they said. It was a riot. The Soldiers were just defending themselves, they said. They blamed the whole thing on the angry Black man. Lies were told (and later refuted) that Crispus had instigated the whole thing. He was accused of accosting a British Soldier by grabbing his bayonet and knocking another to the ground. None of which was true, as Crispus was a good 15 feet away from the line of Red Coats when he was shot.
Then, as now, the Royalists wanted to change the narrative from being about government overreach and abuse of power by police, to being about a Black man not complying with instructions from law enforcement. The King’s Men wanted people to ignore the history of abuse that led up to the Boston Massacre.
But true American patriots didn’t listen.
The real patriots continued taking to the streets. The protests continued, and intensified. As the Crown continued to increase the use of force, the protest movement became a Revolution.
Crispus Attucks was buried as a hero, alongside the other two (white) men killed on March 5. He was the first casualty, and first hero, of the American Revolution. Say. His. Name!