Crispus Attucks Essay

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The Boston Massacre remains one of the ugliest incidents that occurred during the early days of the American colonies. What the Boston Massacre entailed was several British soldiers, responding to taunts by American citizens, opened fire on the unarmed crowd killing five people, one of whom was Crispus Attucks, a freed slave who had been eating dinner at an inn and, upon hearing the commotion, went outside to see what the problem was.

This proved to be a fatal mistake, as attacks eventually walked into the the eye of the storm and was cut down when the British troops ultimately open fired.

Attucks’ life story is relatively unknown as there is not much historical record existing chronicling his life. Honestly, Attucks was more famous in death than in life. His death, however, went on to develop great symbolism as Attucks is widely considered the first victim/hero of the revolutionary law as the first person to die for the cause.

Chattel Slavery

Slavery is an ugly institution that has been in existence from earlier than 3,000 BC up until the modern day in countries such as Sudan, where slavery is still an accepted method of “doing business.”

By definition, slavery is the elimination of a person’s rights and freedoms. They are then deemed the property of others and forced to work without pay. Slavery has proven “popular” throughout history because it allows a nation’s economy to grow exponentially, since labor costs are eliminated and replaced with forced labor instead.

A subset of slavery is known as Chattel Slavery which refers to a legal definition in absolute terms. That is, in chattel slavery, the slave master is accorded significant property rights in terms of legal ownership of another human being. In a way, chattel slavery is a form of commerce regulation as it relates to the principle and practice of buying, selling and owning slaves.

 Edmonia Lewis

Edmonia Lewis was the first African-American/Native American who developed a successful career as a sculptor during her lifetime in the mid to late 19th century.

Lewis attended Oberlin College in Ohio where she was heavily involved in the abolitionist movement. While she was in college, she developed an interest in art and discovered that she had a strong aptitude as an artist. After graduating, she moved to Boston where she staked her claim as an artist. She did not, however, give up her interest in abolitionism as she remained active in the cause.

While there were a number of obstacles she had to overcome (namely sexism and racism) Lewis pushed forward in her attempt to pursue a career as an artist. In time, the quality of her work was too special to ignore and became quickly in demand. Lewis eventually established herself as a popular and successful artist.

Lewis was not only successful on the American scene, she would go to Rome and become a successful sculptor in Europe as well. Today, she is considered a pioneer in the world of art and sculpting.

Olaudah Equiano

A freed slave, Equiano would go on to become famous as being the first African-American author of the abolitionist cause.

In the 18th century, the number of opportunities open to freed slaves in America was very limited. The career Equiano eventually selected was the ministry where he would go on to develop his unique talent as a public speaker.

Much of what he spoke about whatthe cause of abolitionism where he impacted the audiences he spoke with an eloquence that was profoundly moving. Equaino would move to London where he would become highly involved in the international abolitionist movement. In time, Equiano would branch out from speaking on the subject into another sphere: writing about the subject.

Since slavery was a subject he was intimately familiar with, he decided to write a very moving account of his life story entitled The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789).

The subject matter of a slave denouncing slavery from an internal perspective was a novel an interesting approach. It was also so moving and emotional that it became an international bets seller and played a significant role in helping to stimulate the international abolitionist movement.


The term miscegenation refers to the intermingling and mixing of different races, ethnicities and cultures. This can refer to sexual relations, dating, marriage, etc.

While at one point in history, there where a great number of social taboos placed on the practice, it has become quite common in the modern era and is no longer considered improper or shocking. (Granted, there are still those with archaic views on the subject, but their number has diminished significantly in recent years)

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield

Known by the nickname “The Black Swan,” Ms. Greenfield was am incredibly popular black singer during the 19th century. In fact, during her lifetime, she was widely considered the most famous black singer in the entire world.

Greenfield was born the child of slaves, but she would be adopted by Quaker parents. While a child, Greenfield discovered she had a talent at singing. She would launch a public career as a singer in a very modest manner as she would sing at parties where her appearances were very well received.

In time, Greenfield would become a highly in demand singer and she would go on to perform in front of huge audiences in New York City and overseas in London.

Maria W. Stewart

Maria W. Stewart gained a tremendous amount of fame in the 19th century as one of the most popular African-American public speakers in the world.

Stewart originally launched her career as a writer, writing a series of works on the subject of religion. Her writing translated into very successful sales so she penned a series of speeches on the subject of religion.

These speeches were not successful, but prose adaptations of them were printed in a newspaper where there were finally well received. Eventually, Stewart began expanding her writing beyond the realm of religion and religious studies and into the subject of anti-slavery. With this new focus, her writing and speeches became even more popular.

Her public speaking career remained popular for three years and afterward, she became a teacher, although she remained relatively active on the world anti-slavery platform.

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley made history in the 1700’s as she was the first African American female writer to see her works published in America. Wheatley was a well rounded author, but she was most famous for her poetry writing which was very well received.

Actually, her writing was so well received that many people in the white establishment accused her of having stolen her writings! That is, there were preconceived notions and prejudices in place that espoused the belief that black female writers lacked the education or skills to write poetry.

Despite the indignation, Wheatley was not discouraged to continue her writing and she persevered and became an incredibly popular poetry author.

Much of Wheatley’s writing was very patriotic as she was a huge proponent of America during the American Revolution and much of her poetry sang the praises of America’s glory and honor. No less a figure than George Washington himself noted how talented she was and how much of a fan of her writing he remained.

Jupiter Hammon

Jupiter Hammon was a famous African American writer in the 19th century. In fact, he was the very first African American writer to be published in America.

Hammon was born a slave, but he would later become a free man. After receiving his freedom, Hammon would go on to become a popular writer chronicling the condition of African Americans in the United States. In that regard, Hammon was many years ahead of his time as his abolitionist writing predated the abolitionist movement by many years.

There are certain words in the English language that are borrowed from other languages and cultures. While we often credit Asia and Europe for the origin of words, Africa is also a place that has contributed greatly to the English language.

Goober: This word means “peanut.” In Africa, peanuts were a major crop and export product.

Buckra: an African word meaning “master.”

Gumbo:  This African word refers to the vegetable Okra and is also the name of a popular Louisiana stew of African origins that uses a lot of Okra in its ingredients.

Samba: this is a form of music popular in Brazil, although its origins come from the African country of Angola.

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