When the British officer punched him, he hesitated to fight back. Their patrols were overrunning Boston, harassing free Blacks like him in attempts to replace them in already underpaid jobs.
But he needed his job. How else would all his sacrifices – even changing his name to hide his true identity – pay off?
There were over 550,000 enslaved Black people in America in 1770 – Attucks used to be one of them! Both his African father and Wampanoag Indigenous mother had been enslaved.
Retaliating against the officer meant Attucks could be sold back into slavery. But as violence exploded around him, he joined the fight!
Although his tragic, needless death was a result of white tyranny and racism, Attucks’ determination to fight for his rights became a symbol of Black Americans’ struggle for freedom and equality.