J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

On the Trail of Crispus Attucks

This installment of CSI: Colonial Boston starts with Boston coroner Robert Pierpont summoning a jury on 6 Mar 1770 to investigate the death of a tall man shot by soldiers on King Street. His name, according to their inquest report and that day’s newspapers, was Michael Johnson.

By the following Monday, however, the same man was being identified as Crispus Attucks, and that’s how he’s come down to us in the historical records.

Readex, the company that publishes the Archive of Americana online database that I love to use, has just published my online article “On the Trail of Crispus Attucks: Investigating a Victim of the Boston Massacre.” It describes how students might use the colonial publications and newspaper stories reproduced in that database to learn more about Johnson/Attucks.

I access the Archive of Americana through the Boston Public Library, as can anyone with a card for that system (which any resident of Massachusetts can apply for). Many universities libraries also subscribe. It’s a wonderful way to spend far more time than you expect.

1 comment:

Jess said...

There's a new book out called Massachusetts Troublemakers that I bet you'd like. Definitely has the irreverent colonial thing going on. :)