Attucks, Crispus: African-American martyr: Crispus Attucks was the first American martyr in an event prior to the Revolutionary War itself. The son of a native African and a Native American of the Natick tribe, Attucks ran away from his slave owner and became a sailor and whaler. He learned to read and write and to understand the basic principles of different types of government. Attucks attended meetings with other patriots to discuss taxes levied by Britain, and wrote a letter of protest to Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the Tory governor of Massachusetts. On March 5, 1770, at Dock Square in Boston, Attucks was with a group of men who taunted the British Red Coats. He was the first man to die in the ensuing skirmish, later called the Boston Massacre. As the first to die for the American cause, he was buried with honor, and a monument on the Boston Common was erected to immortalize his sacrifice.