Negroes in the American Revolution, No. 2, 1961
SHIRLEY GRAHAM DU BOIS
Shirley Graham Du Bois remembered that as a child she read, with others, the Declaration of Independence and never forgot "that all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights." She became a lifelong student of American history.
Beginning in 1771 and for two decades thereafter, the Fifth of March was commemorated as Independence Day in America. Not until after all states had ratified the Constitution and the Union was firmly established was the Fourth of July substituted for general celebration. Even then, particularly in New England, the Fifth of March continued to be a day of oratory recalling the beginning of the struggle for Independence. Because on March 5, 1770, occurred the Boston Massacre, designated [by] Daniel Webster as: "From that moment we may date the severance of the British Empire." And in oration, poetry and song the name Crispus Attucks, a Negro, was hailed as the first to die for American independence. Schoolboys recited the verse carved as inscription on the monument to the four victims: