The slave ship Diligente was engaged in the illegal slave trade when it was seized in 1838. A lieutenant in the British Royal Navy painted this scene from the ship. He captured the trauma of the Middle Passage in images of malnutrition and overcrowding.
Source: Nancy Bercaw, Curator, Slavery and Freedom
A watercolor painting of a slave ship showing five crew members with multiple enslaved persons crowded on the weather deck. A Portuguese flag flies from the ship and the sketched outline of another ship is visible in the background.
This object is a poly-chrome, three-dimensional, woodcarving depicting a male slave trader and a female slave standing on an elongated oval platform. Both figures are standing upright and facing the same direction with the male figure behind the female figure. The male figure is significantly larger than the female figure. He has short hair and is wearing a dark three-piece suit, belt with belt buckle, white collared shirt and a dark neck tie. There are two, small white objects in his left and right breast coat pockets. His proper right hand has a drilled hole through the fist. His proper left hand is slightly forward and he is holding a length of cord connected to the female figure. The cord ties her hands behind her back and wraps around her neck in a noose. The female figure is bald, wearing light colored earrings and is nude with the exception of a light colored breechcloth and four strings (two dark strings, two light strings) of glass beads around the waist. A piece of light cloth has been tied around the female figure’s upper torso.
A cast and painted plaster sculptural group depicting an escaped enslaved man helping a wounded Union soldier. This genre scene depicts an injured soldier leaning against the formerly enslaved man, his head resting on the other man's shoulder. The soldier's right arm is wrapped in a tourniquet and hangs limply at his side. The formerly enslaved man stands tall, looking off into the distance, while he holds the scout's left arm and guides him forward with his right arm supporting the soldier's waist. The scout has a mustache and is in uniform, wearing a jacket and boots with a bag, cartridge box and a canteen, while the formerly enslaved man is bearded and barefoot, and is wearing a shirt tucked into pants, both of which are torn and tattered. The men are walking through long grasses and swamp plants. Next to the formerly enslaved man's left foot is a copperhead snake coiled to strike. At the front of the sculpture base is etched: [JOHN ROGERS / NEW YORK / THE WOUNDED SCOUT. / A FRIEND IN THE SWAMP.]. Inscribed on the verso of the base is: [PATENTED JUNE 28 1864]. On the bottom of the base is an incomplete inscription [REK].
This oil painting depicts seven individuals gathered around a water pump. From left to right these figures include: a young boy working the pump handle wearing brown pants and jacket with a blue shirt, a woman seated on a basket of laundry, wearing a pink dress and white head wrap, a man with his right leg propped up on the edge of the basin in a wide brimmed straw hat, a kneeling youth in a red shirt drinking from the pump's spout, a woman carrying a bucket, a man carrying a basket of peaches over his left arm and several dead fowl in his right hand, and a woman holding a baby and a green parasol. A black dog lies on the ground behind her. All individuals except the woman and baby are on a square pavement of red brick. The water pump sits in the middle of the pavement surrounded by a low walled, rectangular basin. The pump is a rectangular stone pillar topped with a small dome. A spout protrudes from halfway up the pillar, and the pump handle is a lever that protrudes from the adjacent pillar side. Water flows out the spout into the basin below. In the background is a landscape of trees on either side of a wide street with a few buildings in the distance. On the right is a white house with a green door and shutters, and a fanlight over the entrance. In the distance are two other white buildings, one on the left with a colonnade and a tall steeple, and a much smaller one across from it on the right with a cupola. There are a several indistinct figures walking and riding down the street.
An oil painting portrait of John Westwood, painted in conventional English portrait style of formal, bust-length pose and arranged backdrop. It depicts a half-length male figure wearing a brown coat with silver buttons and white waistcoat against a dark background. The figure is clean shaven with short brown hair, and is encircled by a faux oval frame. Painted as part of the composition, the oval frame is slightly lighter in color than the background.
This oil painting depicts a black man and woman beset by three mastiff dogs in a marshy landscape. On the right side of the painting are two human figures who face left across the painting to the dogs.The man stands in a half-crouch between the dogs and the woman, wielding a hatchet in his upraised right hand. Dangling from his clenched left wrist is a pair of manacles, with one cuff broken open. He wears a pair of faintly patterned brown trousers to mid-thigh, and has a red sash around his waist. His body has numerous scars and a round brand or tattoo on his left shoulder. The woman is half-crouched behind him knees bent, both arms raised to shoulder height, palms faced outward as she peers over the man's shoulder. She wears a sleeveless, loosely draped soiled white top, and a brown striped skirt tucked above her knees. Her hair is drawn back and she has small hoop earrings. The dogs are on the left side of the painting, with one of the dogs lying wounded between the two groups of figures. The scene takes place in an area of trampled tall grass with grey water in the background and a livid red horizon. In the bottom right corner there is a striped snake twining up a mossy dead log.
H x W (image with title): 9 3/4 × 7 1/8 in. (24.8 × 18.1 cm)
H x W (image): 9 1/8 × 6 1/8 in. (23.2 × 15.6 cm)
H x W (sheet): 15 × 11 1/4 in. (38.1 × 28.6 cm)
1946; printed 1989
Black and white linocut featuring Phillis Wheatley. Wheatley is in the foreground of the image with three women behind her. Wheatley is depicted in her well-known portrait pose, seated at a desk and writing on paper with a quill. Wheatley is facing to the right and holding the quill in her left hand. Her other hand is resting against her cheek. The three women in the background are standing, barefoot, and chained together. The title is handwritten in graphite below the image and the work is signed. The reverse is blank.
This black and white linocut depicts Harriet Tubman directing a group of individuals. She stands with her back to the viewer, looking over her right shoulder and down her right arm, which she points in a straight line to her right. She wears a light colored long dress with a striped hem and dark shoes. Her sleeves are rolled up past the elbows. She has a loose cap on her head and a satchel slung over her left shoulder. In the background is a group of individuals consisting of several men and a woman carrying a baby. The woman wears a long loose skirt and loose shirt. She has a loose cap or cloth on her head and carries a baby against her left shoulder. Next to the woman is a man in a loose shirt and pants. He carries a bulging sack over his right shoulder. Both the woman and the man are barefoot. Behind them are four men, two of them wearing hats. They are shown walking towards the right hand margin, in the direction of Harriet Tubman's pointing finger. There is a handwritten title below the image in pencil. It is signed by the artist on the bottom right. The back is blank.