Crispus Attucks

Picture of Crispus Attucks who was killed during the Boston Massacre

Likeness of Crispus Attucks who was killed
during the Boston Massacre

This article on  the biography and life of Crispus Attucks provides facts and information about:

  • Who was Crispus Attucks?
  • What was his involvement in the American Revolutionary War?
  • the first martyr of the American Revolutionary War
  • Life and Biography of Crispus Attucks & the Boston Massacre
  • Interesting facts and fast information about Crispus Attucks
  • Educational resource for teachers and kids
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Interesting facts about the life of Crispus Attucks, known as the first martyr of the American Revolution

Short Biography about Crispus Attucks
Crispus Attucks was one of the 5 civilians killed by British troops during the Boston Massacre which occurred in 1770. He was an African-American  and is often referred to as the first martyr of the American Revolution. This article contains a short biography and fast facts and information about Crispus Attucks. Who was Crispus Attucks and why was he famous?

Facts about Crispus Attucks
All that is definitely known about Attucks is that he was the first to fall during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. The following facts about Crispus Attucks are believed to be accurate but cannot be fully substantiated as records of slaves during the period were extremely vague. The following fact file has been compiled from various sources and provides interesting facts and an overview and description of the life and times and his involvement in the American Revolutionary War.

Facts about Crispus Attucks

Crispus Attucks Fact 1Crispus Attucks was born c. 1723
Crispus Attucks Fact 1There is a theory that he went by another name, Michael Johnson.
Crispus Attucks Fact 2His father was born in Africa. His name was Prince Yonger and he was brought to America as a slave.
Crispus Attucks Fact 3The name of his mother was Nancy Attucks, a Wampanoag Native Indian who came from from the island of Nantucket. The word "attuck" in the Natick language means deer.
Crispus Attucks Fact 4Crispus Attucks had a sister called Phoebe 
Crispus Attucks Fact 5The owner of his father was Colonel Buckminster and Crispus was raised on his large farm
Crispus Attucks Fact 6He was then sold to Deacon William Brown of Framingham. Crispus Attucks escaped from his new master and absconded to become a seaman and whaler
Crispus Attucks Fact 7An advertisement placed in the  Boston Gazette on October 2, 1750 referred to Crispus Attucks as a runawy slave belonging to William Brown of Framingham
Crispus Attucks Fact 8In the advertisement Crispus Attucks was described as "a mulatto Fellow, about 27 years of age, named Crispus, 6 Feet and 2 inches high, short curl'd hair, his Knees near together than common..."
Crispus Attucks Fact 9Whaling played an important role in New England and whaling was a common activity along the East Coast. Boston, in the colony of Massachusetts, was the most important port of the colonies.
Crispus Attucks Fact 10Boston was the home of many patriots and it is probable that Crispus Attucks had great sympathy with the movement. British troops had been stationed in Boston since 1768 following events prompted by the Townshend Acts of 1767 and the troops were resented by the workers in Boston, like Crispus Attucks.
Crispus Attucks Fact 11Workers and sailors frequently clashed with British soldiers quartered in Boston.
Crispus Attucks Fact 12The day before the Boston Massacre incident on March 4, 1770 some seamen and ropemakers had clashed with British troops at John Gray's Ropewalk in the Fort Hill district of Boston.
Crispus Attucks Fact 13The Boston Massacre incident occurred on the evening of March 5, 1770. A crowd taunting a soldier in front of the Customs House on King Street in Boston became out of hand and he called for help.
Crispus Attucks Fact 14Captain Thomas Preston and 8 soldiers answered the call. The crowd grew to over 200 people and started to throw snowballs, ice, coal and oyster shells at the British troops. A soldier named Private Montgomery was hit in the face by a stick and the soldiers fired their muskets into the crowd.
Crispus Attucks Fact 15Crispus Attucks was the first man to be shot and fell dead with several bullets lodged in his chest and head.

Facts about Crispus Attucks


The Port of Boston in the mid 1700's

The Port of Boston in the mid 1700's

Facts about Crispus Attucks

Crispus Attucks Fact 16CA total of 5 civilians were killed and 6 more were wounded in the incident which would come to be called the Boston Massacre.
Crispus Attucks Fact 17A soldier called Hugh Montgomery was later found guilty of manslaughter for killing Crispus Attucks.
Crispus Attucks Fact 18The governor of Boston, Thomas Hutchinson, ordered an autopsy on his body which was conducted by Doctor Benjamin Church
Crispus Attucks Fact 19His body was carried to Faneuil Hall, where it lay in state until Thursday, March 8.
Crispus Attucks Fact 20The funeral procession consisted of 12,000 people who honored the victims of the Boston massacre as heroes.
Crispus Attucks Fact 21He was buried together with the other victims of the Boston Massacre in the same grave site in the Granary Burying Ground. The Boston Gazette reported, "The body of the slain Crispus Attucks lay in state in Fanueil Hall until, along with three other victims of the Boston Massacre, he was entombed in a common sepulcher as thousands bared their heads at the cemetery."
Crispus Attucks Fact 22Hugh Montgomery was sent to trial and was defended by John Adams who was destined to become the second President of the United States. There waas overpowering proof that Montgomery had killed Crispus Attucks and he was found guilty of the manslaughter
Crispus Attucks Fact 23Hugh Montgomery entered a claim and were granted 'benefit of clergy' to avoid the death sentence for their part in the Boston Massacre. Montgomery was branded on his thumb by red hot iron bearing the letter "M" for manslaughter.
Crispus Attucks Fact 24Montgomery was then released, discharged from the army and sent back to Britain.
Crispus Attucks Fact 25The events of the Boston Massacre and the deaths of the civilians were widely publicized and used as political propaganda by the Sons of Liberty and patriots such as Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.
Crispus Attucks Fact 26In 1858, Boston-area Abolitionists established "Crispus Attucks Day."
Crispus Attucks Fact 27In 1888, a monument was erected to his memory on Boston Common. When the monument was dedicated, a poet named John Boyle O'Reilly read the following poem:

"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 laid low.
Call it riot or revolution, or mob or crowd, as you may,
such deaths have been seed of nations, such lives shall be honored for aye."

Crispus Attucks Fact 28Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to Crispus Attucks in the introduction of Why We Can't Wait (1964).
Crispus Attucks Fact 29In 1998, the United States Treasury released "The Black Revolutionary War Patriots Silver Dollar" featuring the image of Crispus Attucks.
Crispus Attucks Fact 30Crispus Attucks is remembered as the first American to die in the colonists' fight for freedom from Britain and the first martyr and hero of the American Revolution.

Facts about Crispus Attucks

Crispus Attucks

The life and biography of Crispus Attucks is presented in a short, easy fact file format that is highly suitable for kids. The facts about  are a fast and accurate way to gain a good understanding of the life of this famous man who played a major role in the American Revolutionary War. The facts include the major events in the life of Crispus Attucks together with important dates and details of his family.

The Crispus Attucks

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