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Posts Tagged ‘prints and paintings’

The newspaper headline in this painting by H.L. Stephens announces the Emancipation Proclamation. The digital file from color film copy transparency is held by the Library of Congress and can be viewed by clicking here on the image above.

Celebrations weren’t always held on January 1. April 16 was the day enslaved people were freed in Washington, DC. Some local areas celebrated the holiday on September 22, the date of President Lincoln’s preliminary proclamation. Newspapers published for Black readership reported on the events without bias while newpapers intended for White audiences often included negative stereotypes. The excerpts below were published in the Virginia press. See the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Chronicle which is an “historical archive of Virginia newspapers, providing free access to full text searching and digitized images of over 3 million newspaper pages.”

“There was a procession at 12 o’clock in which were the Laboring Sons, Star Club, Union League Club and Frederick Douglass Club. There were also three wagons containing tableaus representing war, emancipation, trades, professions, and industrial and mechanical pursuits. The display was creditable. At 12:30 the visitors took dinner at the fairgrounds. United States Marshall Fred Douglass arrived at 2:10pm and was met at the depot by a large crowd of both races, the desire to see him being general.”
“Celebration of Emancipation Day at Cumberland,” Southern Branch Intelligencer, September 26, 1879, page 2
[Note: This newspaper was published in Romney, Virginia — Leslie]

“The first day of January, the day usually celebrated as emancipation day, is near at hand, and some committees to arrange programs of exercise for that day will be in session, and we would like to offer some suggestions for consideration.,,, But in view of the fact that these meetings are held at only one place in a county or city, making it impossible for many of our old people, especially women, to attend, we would suggest, especially for Gloucester, that meetings be arranged at four or five churches, where old and young, men and women, can come; and that instead of the parade of horses and men, ‘to be seen of men,’ the people meet and listen to a sermon on the subject, unite in praise to God for the emancipations of the past, and in earnest prayer to him for emancipation from ignorance, vice, prejudice, and for the overthrow of strong drink. Too many of the old people who prayed fro the emancipation have never been permitted to enjoy a celebration. Too many young people, and grown ones, too, take it for a day of sport. Too much strong drink is made use of for the best results and enjoyment of such occasions.”
“Emancipation Day,” The Gloucester Letter, November 1, 1894, page 3

“To-day being emancipation day there will be big doings by the colored people of our city who have made the most elaborate preparations. An excursion train of consisting of nine coaches of [offensive term deleted] arrived in the city yesterday from Elkhorn, W. Va., and the intermediate stations and one or two more trains are expected to arrive this morning. There will be a big parade sometime this morning after which there will be a meeting in Davis hall where several speeches will be made by prominent colored men of the city and State.”
“Emancipation Day celebration,” Roanoke Times, January 1, 1898, page 8

“The Butler Zouaves of Washington decided not to go to Warrenton to celebrate emancipation day tomorrow, and the mayor of Warrenton has notified the governor that 100 guns will not be needed.”
“Brief Notes,” Staunton Daily News, September 21, 1899, page 3

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“On January 24, 1863, just twenty-three days after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, Harper’s Weekly published Thomas Nast’s radical illustration depicting both this horrors of slavery and his idea of the future of freed slaves. In this original publication, the inscription below reads, “The Emancipation of the Negroes, January, 1863 – the past and the future (Fig. 3).” The composition is organized into three parts: on the left, brutal scenes of enslaved families; in the center, a domestic scene of a black, middle class family under the banner of “Emancipation;” and finally, scenes of education and employment that will define this family’s life in the future.”
Click here to read the complete article.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a print of the drawing in its collection. Click here or on the image above for details.

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This digital file is at the Library of College. The original print “accompanied a pamphlet published by Lucius Stebbins. Click on the image above for an enlarged view.

“President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation [digitized image] on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared that “all persons held as slaves [within the rebellious states] shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free are.”

“Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the United States, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy (the Southern secessionist states) that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union (United States) military victory.”

To read the entire article on the National Archives website, click on “The Emancipation Proclamation.”

To view a transcript of the Proclamation, click here.




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“A Bit of War History, Civil War, 1865” by Thomas Waterman Wood (1823-1903) is comprised of three panels and can be viewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:

“This work, painted at the close of the Civil War, forms a narrative triptych (84.12a, b, c) of African American military service. In “The Contraband” (84.12a)—a term that referred to enslaved people who fled to Union lines at the beginning of the conflict—the self-emancipated man appears in a U.S. Army Provost Marshall General office, eager to enlist. The Recruit (84.12b) represents him as proudly ready for military service. In “The Veteran” (84.12c), he is depicted as an amputee possibly seeking his pension in the same office where he first enlisted, or returning to military service.”

Illustrations of these paintings were featured in Harper’s Weekly, May 4, 1867 along with a paragraph explaining that the paintings were “made from studies made from Tennessee during the late war, and tell their own thrilling story.”

The artist’s biography is available at “American Painters: Thomas W. Wood, N.A.The Art Journal (1875-1887), New Series, Vol. 2 (1876) pp. 114-115.

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“Initially a sick or wounded soldier would be treated by his regimental surgeon and/or in a field hospital. If his condition was likely to be of short duration or too grave for him to be moved, he would remain in the field hospital; otherwise he would be sent to a general hospital for further treatment and convalescence.”
Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein. The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine (Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2008) pages 153-154.

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