Returned to lender The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.
Massacre in Boston
Jacob Lawrence American
Not on view
On a winter night in 1770, a squad of British soldiers opened fire on an agitated group of colonists outside Boston’s Custom House. Resentful of the Crown’s restrictions of their rights, they taunted and threw rocks at the redcoats. Gunfire erupted, and five Americans died in the melee. Lawrence’s electrifying rendering foregrounds Crispus Attucks, a seaman of African and Wampanoag descent, who escaped enslavement to join the patriots’ cause. He became the first martyr of the American Revolution. Lawrence pictured the hero crouching at the center of the composition, gripping his chest and spewing blood. The artist did not mention Attucks by name, but the historical figure was well documented in a clipping file at the Schomburg Library, in Harlem, where Lawrence conducted his research for the Struggle series.