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Black History

July 2024
1min read

Sir: The article on black history is timely and addressed to a growing volume of error and indiscriminate injustice based on ignorance, prejudice, and unjustified self-esteem. The blacks in America have done some great things, but they have neither been so ignored or concealed as is hinted. This article will do much to cause reflection on those black and white historians who prefer good myth or bad myth to truth.

Unfortunately, however, I think the author has been somewhat unfair to Crispus Attucks.

The Boston Gazette of Tuesday, October 2, 1750, has the following advertisement:

“Ran away from his master William Bowen of Framingham on the 3Oth of September last, a MULATTO Fellow, about 27 years of age, named CRISPUS , 6 feet and 8 inches high, short curl’d hair, his Knees nearer together than common etc.”

Was not this our Crispus? George Livermore, a distinguished historian of Boston in 1862, thought so. Curled hair does not sound like an Indian. Did Mr. Chew know this reference? I think it significant.

The evidence on the identity of Cnspus Attucks is inconclusive. As our article stated, “the consensus seems to be that he was a middleaged mulatto, ” an assumption not out of keeping with the advertisement in the Boston Gazette that you quote. On the other hand, it would seem likely that if the Cnspus of the Boston Massacre was & 8"—a truly gigantic height for that time—something surely would have been made of this in the trial proceedings that followed.

The essential point—namely, that Attucks does appear, on the evidence, to have been more of a street hooligan than a patriotic hero—still stands, it seems to us. —Ed.

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