"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Crispus Attucks

This 1943 mural of Crispus Attucks by Herschel Levit is in the Recorder of Deeds building at 515 D St., NW, Washington, D.C. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 2010.

PBS says this of Attucks:
In 1770, Crispus Attucks, a black man, became the first casualty of the American Revolution when he was shot and killed in what became known as the Boston Massacre. Although Attucks was credited as the leader and instigator of the event, debate raged for over as century as to whether he was a hero and a patriot, or a rabble-rousing villain. -- PBS

Of course, we don't really know what Crispus Attucks looked like. But, here's a more sedate portrayal of Crispus Attucks  - The Brave Soldier of the Revolutionary War, 1770. from 1897. (LOC

Back in 1770 Paul Revere engraved this representation of Attucks' coffin

It appeared with three others in an illustration in the The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, March 12, 1770. (LOC)

This image of the Boston Massacre appeared as the frontispiece of The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution by William C. Nell and Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1855.

Crispus Attucks, the First Martyr of the American Revolution, King (now State) Street, Boston,
March 5, 1770.

The Boston Massacre Monument, dedicated on Nov. 14, 1889, is often referred to as the Crispus Attucks Memorial.  Cripus Attucks name heads the list of  victims. These contemporary photos appeared in A Memorial of Crispus Attucks, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, Samuel Gray, and Patrick Carr, from the City of Boston, 1898, a book on the dedication of the Monument  published by the Boston City Council. 

Crispus Attucks
Samuel Maverick
James Caldwell
Samuel Gray
Patrick Carr

March 5, 1770

Erected In 1888 by The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts
In Honor Of Those Who Fell
At The/Boston Massacre

The Spirit of Revolution
by Robert Kraus, 1888

From That Moment
We May Date
The Severance of
The British Empire.
Daniel Webster

On That Night
The Foundation of
American Independence
Was Laid.
John Adams

Irish Poet John Boyle O'Reilly wrote and performed a poem entitled Crispus Attucks, at the dediction of the monument. Here's one verse.
And honor to Crispus Attucks, who was leader and voice that day;
The first to defy, and the first to die, with Maverick. Carr, and Gray.
Call it riot or revolution, his hand first clenched at the crown;
His feet were the first in perilous place to pull the king’s flag down;
His breast was the first one rent apart that liberty’s stream might flow;
For our freedom now and forever, his head was the first bid low.
In 1906 The Sons of the American Revolution, SAR, placed this headstone in the Old Granary Grave Yard, The photo below is by Rododentrites.

The Remains of
Samvel Gray
Samvel Maverick
James Caldwell
Crispus Attucks
Patrick Carr
Victims of the Boston Massacre
March 5th 1770
were here interred by order of the
Town of Boston.
Christopher Snider
Aged 12 Years
Killed February 22nd, 1770.
The innocent, first victim of the
struggles between the Colonists and
the Crown, which resulted in 
Placed by Boston Chapter S.A.R.

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