ATTUCKS, CRISPUS. (1723?–1770). Rebel leader. Massachusetts. Of mixed ancestry, Attucks may have been raised in the Natick Indian town of Mashpee. It is possible that he may have been a slave prior to 1770, by which time he was a free man and a sailor. A leader of the crowd that precipitated the so-called Boston Massacre, 5 March 1770, and the first killed, Attucks became a martyr to freedom in the eyes of most Bostonians and would become a symbol of African American heroism and participation in the Revolutionary struggle.
revised by Michael Bellesiles