Nina Sankovitch reminds us that American Revolutionaries would be marching now ...
On February 22, 1770, Christopher Seider, an eleven-year old boy, was shot and killed on the streets of Boston by Ebenezer Richardson, a former informer for the Royal Customs Office. Richardson had come to the aid of a neighbor being harassed by a group of young boys for selling imported British goods. The boys chased Richardson back to his own house and from the attic windows, he shot down into the crowd, killing Seider.
John Adams attended the huge funeral which Sam Adams and his Sons of Liberty planned for Seider. Despite the snow, hail, thunder, and lightning that tormented the mourners that day, close to three thousand people turned out for the funeral, in part to lament the death of a child and in part to protest oppressive British programs in policing the Massachusetts colony, and particularly its largest town, Boston.
The funeral of Christopher Seider was not the first time the patriots of Boston turned out to protest British oppressions, nor would it be the last. Having studied the protest movements which led to the American Revolution, I see many parallels between what the rebels were fighting for then, and what the protesters who have taken to the streets following the murder of George Floyd are marching for today. The men and women who fanned the flames of the American Revolution — and who I write about in my book, American Rebels –would understand the motivations behind the protests going on now in their hometown of Quincy, their adopted town of Boston, and around the country and the world.
Although I’m not sure what the phrase “Black Lives Matter” would have meant to them, the core complaints which have driven Americans to the streets today are the same ones which drove the American rebels to the streets in the 1760s and ’70s. Brutality of occupying troops; restriction of liberties; failure to protect one’s safety in his or her own home and community; militarization of police forces; lack of accountability of the policing forces: these are all reasons why we march now, and why the American rebels made the difficult — and dangerous decision to rise up against England and fight for independence.