African and Native Families

Attucks belonged to a blended community created by the forces of colonialism, slavery and love.

Crispus Attucks was the product of the colonial environment in which Africans and Native peoples lived in the 18th century. Native peoples, dispossessed of nearly all land bases by arriving English colonists, were forced into market economies which led to debts and indentured servitude, while some were enslaved outright.

As they worked alongside one another on white farms, in white households, on the docks, and on whaling and merchant ships, romantic relationships between people of African and Native descent became common. Demographic trends were also at play. There were more men than women among enslaved blacks in New England. In addition, Native women outnumbered Native men, who lost their lives both in battles and accidents at sea. Native women also owned land, which created opportunities for black men in relationships with them to work their family’s own land.