Episode 11: The History of Now

“The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street,” from an engraving by Paul Revere, depicts the killing of five local residents of Boston on March 5, 1770 by British troops. Though he may have plagiarized the image from an earlier work by Henry Pelham, it was Revere’s print that went ‘viral’ in the aftermath of the newly named Boston Massacre, and helped to inspire new colonial resistance to the British over-policing of colonial towns such as Boston and New York. Coming at a time of economic depression brought on, in part, by imperial regulation of the colonial economy, the police presence of more than 2,000 troops in Boston, a town of about 15,000 people, was widely perceived by locals as an abuse of policing power and tyrannical. One of those killed was Crispus Attucks, a mixed-race African American dock worker and ex-slave. In the image above (lower left), he is erroneously depicted as white. The racial hedging here was due to Revere’s (and others) attempt to undercut the claims of those who defended the troops, claiming that it was a lawless and racially mixed “mob” including “negroes” that had attacked the troops, leaving them no choice but self-defense. That was the racially charged argument used by defense attorney John Adams, a white man of property, after the arrest and subsequent trial of the troops. Not unlike the modern trials of policemen accused of murdering black men and women, the white jury in this case voted acquittal for all but two of the soldiers, who were found guilty of a reduced manslaughter charge. Image from the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.


Ricardo Catón

This episode is dedicated to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others murdered by those who were supposed to protect them. Killer Mike opens the episode with a poignant bolt of truth, while Josh and Chris take a knee in honor of those confronting injustice through mass protest, and turn to history as a means of making sense of the now. As our special guest this week, history professor Ricardo Catón makes the case for better stories elsewhere in history, by explaining why Latino and Chicano voices deserve full historical recognition as well. Josh & Chris finish with final thoughts on the histories we need, and how Ava Duvernay shines a light on the world that so many have sacrificed and fought to have.

Mural, honoring George Floyd

To hear Episode 11 The History of Now click on the following link:


Sources Referenced and Items of Interest

“History Professor teaches on the importance of Latin American cultures and history,” American River Current (November 27, 2019)


Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, “Ava DuVernay’s 13th Reframes American History,” The Atlantic (October 26, 2016).


Massachusetts Historical Society, “Perspectives on the Boston Massacre”


Profile: Suzanne Césaire, artist and leader of the négritude movement

CÉSAIRE, Suzanne

Speech of John Morley, British Secretary of State, on India (1909)


Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, established by the British to punish sedition


George Rudé, The Crowd in the French Revolution (2nd ed. 1967)


“Finally those sordid contemporary antinomies of black/white, European/African, civilised/savage will be transcended. The magical power of the mahoulis will be recovered, drawn forth from living sources. Colonial stupidity will be purified in the blue welding flame. Our value as metal, our cutting edge of steel, our amazing communions will be recovered.””

Suzanne Césaire

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