Foundation aims to preserve legacy of Dr. Warren

Renewed Efforts

Public domain photo This painting by Joseph Trumbull is entitled “The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775.”

We know of Dr. Joseph Warren because our city and county are named after him.

But Warren’s legacy has faded in the last 200 years as names like Adams and Revere have taken more prominent places on the center stage in our revolutionary drama.

A foundation has been established to attempt to rebuild that legacy and also tell the story of Warren’s contributions to the early revolutionary movement.

Christian Di Spigna chairs the board of the Dr. Joseph Warren Foundation and has also written a biography on the county’s namesake.

What has become the foundation started with his book project. It was thought Warren had no direct descendants but that has turned out not to be the case.

Public domain photo A portrait of Dr. Joseph Warren, the county’s namesake. Warren is the focus of a renewed effort to preserve his legacy with the creation of the Dr. Joseph Warren Foundation.

“A bunch of us got together — it’s a diverse group — all with the intention of preserving the legacy of Dr. Warren,” Di Spinga explained.

“Considered a “Founding Grandfather” Warren rose to become a well-connected propagandist, polemicist, author, orator, professor, and ultimately a major general as well as a physician, mentor, and spymaster,” the Foundation’s website details.

“The goal of the foundation is to give the most accurate story possible, true (accounts) of what happened,” he said.

At this stage, that includes an active social media presence and a scholarship program. It’s expected to include lecture presentations and symposiums in the future.

The group would like to bring those symposiums to all of the places named after Warren.

Warren’s legacy has faded in large measure due to his death at the Battle of Bunker Hill hat has “overshadowed,” Di Spigna said, 10 years of prior activism.

“Before there was George Washington, there was Joseph Warren,” he said. “He’s become known as this martyr. This first American martyr.”

So what has caused Warren to fade from the national consciousness?

“A lot of the histories focus on a guy like Samuel Adams,” he said, and emphasize Warren turning “up armed with a pair of pistols in the hottest part of the fighting” at Bunker Hill. … He gives his life on this battlefield and no one remembers him for it.”

“One of the important things (for) 10 years he is one of the main guys fighting against these oppressive policies then he’s just gone,” he said. “He dies a year before the Declaration of Independence is signed. Warren dies behind this triumphalist phase (and) dies as a traitorous British subject. That one day — Bunker Hill — overshadows everything.”

“(It’s) just a shame he’s been so marginalized over the centuries.”

There’s a timeliness to the work of the foundation too as the 250th anniversaries of the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party and Bunker Hill approach, the first coming next March.

Additional information on the foundation can be found at facebook.com/djwfoundation, on Twitter @DJWFoundation or at djwf.org.


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