“Mob or Martyrs? Crispus Attucks and the Boston Massacre” was originally published in The Bostonian in March 1896. The author, Franklin Moses, reflects on the constantly changing views of Crispus Attucks, and some of the reasons why the account of what happened changed over the first hundred years of the United States. In Moses’ view, having a statue to Crispus Attucks on Boston Common was an ill-conceived idea.
In 1851, William C. Nell successfully petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature to appropriate $1,500 to erect a statue to Crispus Attucks on Boston Common. The petition presents a completely different view from the one in Moses’ article.
This is a fascinating thread through our local and national history. It is an interesting inquiry for students too.
How has our view of Crispus Attucks changed over time? What does Moses’ article say about his own time? What do you think?