Emancipted Slaves


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 24, 1863

Welcome to our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. This collection is available for your study and research. These old newspapers allow you to gain new insights into this important period in American History.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


General Sherman

General W. T. Sherman

Monitor Wreck

Wreck of the Monitor

Battle of Galveston

Battle of Galveston


Civil War Telegraph

Signal Station

Signal Station


Negro Emancipation

Wreck of the Monitor

Wreck of the Monitor

Slave Pen

Slave Pen

Winter Quarters

Winslow Homer's "Winter Quarters"

Emancipated Slaves

Emancipated Slaves

Shreman Biography

Sherman Biography

Brute Butler

Brute Butler



Emancipated Slaves

You are viewing an original 1863 Thomas Nast illustration of Emancipated Slaves.  The illustration is captioned, "The Emancipation of the Negroes, January, 1863 - The Past and The Future - Drawn by Mr. Thomas Nast. - [See Preceding Page].

This is a fantastic illustration showing the implications of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The illustration has a large amount of incredible detail, which I will describe. The Central illustration is a:

Picture of Emancipated Slaves

This illustration shows Thomas Nast's Vision of the future, and the profound implications of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Mr. Nast presents an almost unthinkable image at the time . . . the image of a healthy, happy, free black family, in their own home, sitting as a normal family around their own stove.  Nast is portraying blacks as normal people. . .  not as slaves, property, or field hands. This would have been a shocking image in the day Nast created it, and is probably one of the earliest published images suggesting the possibility that a black family could be not unlike a white family.

This hopeful picture of the future is surrounded by images of the reality of the past. In the upper left image, Nast shows runaway slaves being hunted down by men and dogs.  The left image shows a heartbreaking scene of a slave auction.  The image shows a young man on the auction block being sold the the highest bidder.  The the audience a black women, holding her children, is seen on her knees pleading with one of the buyers. Undoubtedly she has just been sold to her new owner, and she is begging the man to buy her husband as well so that the family will not be broken up.  The look of indifference on the man's face is an indicator that there is little hope of the family staying together, and the husband will soon be sold to someone else.

The lower left image shows scenes of slave torture . . . including a black woman being whipped and beaten, and a man being branded with a hot iron.

On the right, we see more images of hope.  We see black children attending school and we see black people receiving wages for their work.

This image illustrates the courage of Thomas Nast.  At a time when the vast majority of the country considered blacks as property, Nast had the courage to portray them as people.




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