African American History on Boston Common

The first site on the Freedom Trail, and the oldest public park in America, the Boston Common has been a place of public gathering for centuries.

It also marks the start of the Black Heritage Trail® at one of the most famous memorials in the United States, Saint-Gaudens’ Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial at the corner of Beacon and Park Streets.

The Common is also home to the Boston Massacre monument honoring the five victims killed in the events of March 5, 1770. Crispus Attucks is the best known of these five. According to some reports, Attucks was of African and Native American descent and had possibly fled to Boston after escaping his enslavers. At the time of the Massacre he was employed as a dockworker in Boston. During the abolitionist movement of the mid-nineteenth century, Bostonians pushed to honor Attucks as the first casualty of the struggle with the British.

Robert Gould Shaw & the 54th Regiment Memorial