Beyond the Bloody Massacre (Documentary)

Dvorak Cello Concerto performed by the Quincy Symphony Orchestra featuring the amazing cellist Blaise Déjardin (Principal cellist of the Boston Symphony) and conductor Yoichi Udagawa.

Looking Beyond the Bloody Massacre 

On the evening of Monday March 5, 1770, British soldiers garrisoned in Boston for the explicit purpose of keeping the peace shot and killed five people on King StreetOne officer and eight soldiers would be imprisoned and charged with murder for the shooting that night.  

Their trials began nine months later, and sitting behind the table for the defense were two of Boston’s most prominent radical lawyers of the day:  John Adams and Josiah Quincy Jr.  

The Boston Massacre is simultaneously one of the most well-known and least understood historical events associated with the start of the American Revolution.  For most of us, the Massacre’s place in our historical memory is rooted in the famous engraving created by Paul Revere, a masterful piece of propaganda that helped to transform the ‘shooting on King Street’ on the night of March 5, 1770 into a ‘bloody massacre.’  Yet, as iconic and important as it is, Revere’s engraving is just one part of the larger story of the Massacre and of pre-revolutionary Boston. 


The Documentary 

Beyond the Bloody Massacre presents the intersecting histories of the Boston Massacre Trials through the words and experiences of John Adams, and Josiah Quincy Jr., the two Quincy (formerly Braintree) born lawyers who defended a British Captain and seven soldiers in two murder trials in the late fall of 1770.   

Filmed during the 250th anniversary of those trialsBeyond the Bloody Massacre is a timely exploration of the pre-revolutionary origins of the American legal tradition of the rule of law and the complex intersections of the right to protest and mob violence in American political and social history. 

The documentary features a unique group of five prominent scholars who have come together to guide viewers through the Boston Massacre Trials and the political, legal, and social worlds of Boston in 1770:  

  • From the original groundbreaking studies of the Massacre and the Trials,
  • Tthe latest revolutionary scholarship that challenges the way we view the soldiers stationed in Boston in 1770;
  • And from the hidden stories of the testimony of enslaved and formerly enslaved people that shaped the course of the trials,
  • To the principles and courage of the two visionary lawyers who stood up to the British Crown and their own friends and allies in defense of the rule of law.

Quincy400 invites you to take historical journey Beyond the Bloody Massacre 

Revere Massacre Engraving_WEB

Paul Revere’s “The Boston Massacre” (Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society) 

1_commonwealth_vh53x374w_accessFull (1)_CropWeb

“Paul Revere’s plan of the scene of the Boston Massacre: used at the trial of Capt. Preston and soldiers” (Courtesy, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Collections at Boston Public Library) 

Arrival of the Troops_WEB

Paul Revere’s “Landing of the Troops”  (Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society) 


(cover) The Trial of William Wemms, James Hartegan...” (Courtesy, Library of Congress Rare Books) 

Death of Crispus Attucks_WEB

W.L. Champney’s “Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770” (Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society)