The Boston Massacre
The film at the URL focuses on the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. The time period is important for students to realize that violent confrontations, such as the Boston Massacre occurred prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution. This incident informed the audience, my students, of the heightened tensions between the American colonialists and the British soldiers. The cause or consequence of the Boston Massacre led to various accounts of the incident to spread, some in the form of American colonial propaganda, in order to heighten the tensions between the British soldiers and American colonials. The consequence of this event pushed the Americans in the direction of American Revolution.
The film Smallpox created by Lucy Figueroa gave an informative account of the Boston Massacre, while making the subject matter comprehensible for my students. Figueroa’s film presented images, outlines, and an oral presentation. She presented a historical question that my students can consider, while watching the film, which is important for critical analysis of the past. She asked in the film, “Was it really a massacre?” The video analyzed or interpreted past events, such as the Boston Massacre, by considering the evidence presented from multiple accounts. The film also presents two accounts of the Boston Massacre, which highlighted and compared the perspectives of the British soldiers and the American colonists. By comparing the two perspectives, the video can teach my students to consider possible historical misconceptions or bias. The video challenges students to utilize their critical thinking skills. In addition, Figueroa’s video incorporated other historical thinking skills, such as analyzing history through time segments or periods. The video presentation or interpretation of this event can help me as a teacher to give my students a brief overview about the Boston Massacre. Regardless of the historical concepts covered, the video contains some weaknesses; it does not analyze the historiography of the Boston Massacre as a riot or massacre in detail, which weakens the comparative analysis of the video.
As a student, the video taught me an informative analysis of the Boston Massacre or the violent conflict between the British soldiers and American colonists, without overwhelming me with too much detail. The film’s length lasted about twelve minutes, which allowed me to focus without losing interest in the contextual lessons, as a student. The outline provided by Figueroa helped me focus on keys points on the Boston Massacre. Furthermore, she provided clarification on complicated vocabulary terms, such as duties, which I learned meant taxes. Furthermore, I learned that a black man by the name of Crispus Attucks represented the first of the five colonial victims that were shot by the British soldiers. From the clips on the film of the reenactment of the Boston Massacre and commentary by historians taught me that the attack on the colonists did not result from a one-sided attack. Colonists, similar to the British soldiers, retained some culpability for the ensuing violence.
The length of the film elaborated on the technical aspects of the film in being sensitive to the limited attention span of the audience. The colorful portrayal and images presented of the Boston massacre highlighted the two main groups of the conflict in a method that depicted knowledge in a fun and comprehensible way. Figueroa clearly highlighted some key points and figures of the Boston Massacre by placing information on a drawing board. The images of the Red Coats or the British soldiers and American colonists immediately alerted the viewers/audience to the comparison and analysis of two groups of people that presented by the film. The film also contains negative technical aspects by showing nothing but the outline page for twenty to thirty seconds, instead of presenting information on the Boston Massacre.