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Photographer's Note

Perhaps this shot would have been better off on Halloween?

This is a two second exposure taken from the corner of Congress and State Streets in downtown Boston. The building in foreground is one of Boston's most famous landmarks, the Old State House. Massachusetts' original capitol building stretching back into colonial times, the Old State House was the site of one of Boston's most famous events: the Boston Massacre.

In 1770, Boston was a city in turmoil. Protests and riots over taxation (and equally importantly, the right of Britain to tax the colonies without representation) had resulted in violence over the previous 5 years, resulting in a buildup of British military power in the city. Clashes between soldiers and townspeople became frequent.

On the night of March 5, 1770, an argument between a soldier and a vendor to whom he allegedly owed money turned violent. A crowd of angry Bostonians gathered around a small British garrison outside the Old State House, which served as the colonial governor's building. The crowd grew in size, and began throwing objects - snowballs at first but then chunks of ice, oyster shells, and even ropemakers' clubs - at the troops. Some townspeople - members of an anti-government group called the Sons of Liberty - actually dared the soldiers to fire, yelling at them from all directions. One soldier, Private Hugh Montgomery, was struck in the head; he fired. Other soldiers followed suit. When the smoke cleared, three colonists were dead. Two more would die of their injuries over the next two days.

The event was a shock to Boston and to all British colonies. It added to the existing divide between colonists and their government; the trial of the soldiers, in which the defense of John Adams (later the second President of the United States) helped acquit most of the soldiers, did not help. The Boston massacre was among the more important steps toward the outbreak of the American Revolution.

The Massacre is still remembered vividly in Boston. Each year, there is a re-enactment of the Massacre on this very spot, and countless field trips have taken students here; it is also a stop along Boston's touristy but educational Freedom Trail, taking visitors past many important Boston landmarks. The three figures caught in ghostly movement here are standing quite near the spot where the crowd stood, and where the three died on that cold March night. Obviously the surroundings have changed greatly, but the memory endures.

I'm not particularly happy with the loss of detail in the small version of this shot, especially in the bricks on the lit side of the building. The detail is much sharper in the larger version here.
My Massachusetts State House set on Flickr can be seen here.

macjake, tyro, bukitgolfb301, kasianowak, timecapturer, Vitaly has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Andrew Lipsett (ACL1978) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 883 W: 75 N: 1688] (7467)
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