The Freedom Trail merges with the Black Heritage Trail on Oliver Wendell Holmes Walk in the Boston Common. Here, a monument commemorates the events of March 5, 1770, when British soldiers, later to be successfully defended by John Adams, shot down five Bostonians. Crispus Attucks is the best known of these five. He is widely hailed as a hero of the American Revolution, although little information about him can be verified. According to some reports, Attucks was of African and Native American descent and had fled to Boston after escaping his enslavers. Attucks’ grave is located in the nearby Granary Burying Ground.
A figure representing the Spirit of the Revolution presides over the monument. She triumphantly displays a broken chain to symbolize liberty, as well as an American flag. With one foot, she steps on the crown of the British monarchy, and next to her other foot, an eagle prepares to take flight. Her exposed breast and outstretched arm evoke the main figure in Eugène Delacroix’s iconic painting Liberty Guiding the People, a powerful symbol of the French Revolution that the sculptor, Robert Kraus, would have known.