Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Letter to an American Hero

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  Before that major event, there was another war that got the wheels turning to make what we now call America.  The American Revolutionary War last from 1775 - 1783.  Numerous figures played a major role on and off the battlefield during it's time span: Samuel Adams, George Washington, John Adams and Paul Revere to name a few.  For my Tuesday Talks, I'd like to focus on a person who participated in a major event that lead to this war against England for independence.  Little is known about Crispus Attucks and those other four men who died during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770.  If given the opportunity, what would I have asked this American hero?
Dear Mr. Attucks,
You were the first person to die in what we now call the Boston Massacre.  You were a runaway slave who died amongst fellow Bostonians.  What was life like for you in Massachusetts?  When did you realize you didn't have the same rights as non-blacks?  We know more about the life of slaves from southern states, but not so much those in the north.  Though the north abolished slavery before the south, they to at one time allowed slavery across their lands.  I read somewhere that you had an alias and eventually escaped the mainland as a harpoonist on a whaling ship. 
Where you aware of the mounting tensions between the colonists and the British?  How did you remain free for so long without anyone willing to turn you in for a reward?  I also read somewhere that you had a sister that remained in Massachusetts.  Did you fear for what could have happened to her?  Lots of runaway slaves fled to Canada.  Did the thought of leaving the colonies and heading to Canada cross your mind?
What most people probably would like to know most was what lead you to be on that particular street on March 5th.  There are conflicting stories of what actually happened that night.  Some say you struck a British soldier first.  Others say you did not.  Did you know the other men who died with you that night?  Regardless of the specifics, three of you were dead on the spot.  Two others died later.  Due to your deaths, a spirit of unit for a common cause ignited the desire of freedom for all.  How does it feel to have played a major role in history not just for your generation, but for generations hundreds of years later?  Do you think your actions went in vain considering what happened in the Civil War?
Thank you Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr for the ultimate sacrifice.

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