Crispus Attucks was born a slave, in Framingham, Massachusetts. His father was Prince Yonger, a slave, brought to this continent from Africa. His mother, Nancy, was a slave of Native Indian descent. In 1750, Attucks escaped from his owner Deacon William Brown, who published notices of his escape in the Boston Gazette, listing him as 6’2”, a mulatto, and offering a reward for his return. As a runaway slave, Attucks used the alias, Michael Johnson. For the next 10 years, he was employed as a harpooner on whaling vessels and a sea merchant. Between sailings, Attucks worked as a rope maker. Attucks was at the head of the mob and the first to be killed at the Boston Massacre. During the Revolutionary War, more than 5000 black American patriots served as soldiers. Most were slaves who fought in the army and in return were rewarded with their freedom.
Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770
Crispus Attucks is regarded as the first person killed in the Boston Massacre. Several other men were also killed, however, Crispus was the first to be shot and died. All the colonial victims, black and white, of the Boston Massacre, were buried together in the Granary Burial Ground in Boston. The Boston Massacre was a signal event leading to the Revolutionary War. It led directly to the Royal Governor evacuating the occupying army from the town of Boston. It would soon bring the revolution to armed rebellion throughout the colonies.
Some of the Revolutionary War veterans lived until the time of the Civil War and a few died not long after that war. Prior to the Civil War, only the wealthy were able to afford to have their portraits drawn or painted. There were few images of the men and women who fought during the Revolutionary War. However, by living until the late 19th century when photography was more affordable, they were able to have their photographs taken and their stories recorded.
The Revolutionary War was fought from 1775 to 1783. It began as a revolt of the colonies against what they believed was unfair taxation. While it started as a conflict between Great Britain and the thirteen American colonies, it soon became a global conflict. France actively sided with the colonies, and the French naval fleet was instrumental in defeating the British at Yorktown. Holland supplied the colonies weapons, while Spain supplied funding and diverted British forces by fighting on a second front and winning back Spanish forts in Florida that they lost during the Seven Years War. No independent country sided with Great Britain, but Britain employed German mercenaries, known as Hessians.
This Crispus Attucks history mug is part of our Revolutionary War series which includes many of the notable figures who played major roles during this conflict.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
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