On the evening of March 5, 1770, British troops fired into a crowd of angry American colonists in Boston who had taunted and violently harassed them. Five colonists were killed. The event, which became known as the Boston Massacre, helped fuel the outrage against British rule—and spurred on the American Revolution.
Among those killed by the British, the first victim was a middle-aged sailor and rope-maker of mixed African American and American Indian descent named Crispus Attucks, accounts suggest. Attucks has been celebrated not just as one of the first martyrs in what became the fight for American independence, but also as a symbol of African Americans’ struggle for freedom and equality.