Nina L. Brown and Children


Nina L. Brown with Daughters [Photograph of Nina L. Brown with Frances and Lois (daughters)], probably very late 1890s or early 1900s; additional details are here.
Source: Ohio Historical Society; from the Hallie Q. Brown/Frances Brown Hughes Collection. The photograph is located at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, OH.

These photographs are from the Hallie Q. Brown/Frances Brown Hughes Collection at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. Hallie Q. Brown (1845? – 1949) was a teacher, elocutionist, civil and women’s rights advocate, and Wilberforce University graduate, instructor, and trustee. Nina L. Brown was Hallie Q. Brown’s sister-in-law.

The photos are part of an online exhibit at the Ohio Historical Society’s website, the African-American Experience in Ohio 1850-1920.


Nina L. Brown and Jere Brown Jr., circa 1906-07; additional details are here.
Source: Ohio Historical Society; from the Hallie Q. Brown/Frances Brown Hughes Collection. The photograph is located at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, OH.

On the eve of the Civil War, in 1860, Ohio had the third largest population of blacks in the free states/the “North,” with 36,000 African American residents. Among northern states, only Pennsylvania (57,000) and New York (49,000) had more free blacks than Ohio. In fact, Ohio had more free blacks than any Confederate state, except the state of Virginia (58,000). Maryland, a “border” state that was considered part of the South, had the most free blacks of any state (84,000).

Wilberforce was (and still is) the location of Wilberforce University. Wilberforce was opened in the late 1850s as a place where youth of African descent could gain an education; it is considered the oldest private, historically black university in the United States. It was named after William Wilberforce, the 18th century abolitionist. It was a joint collaboration of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, although the AME became its sole operator during the course of the Civil War.

Florida Portraits


Nellie Franklin, holding a parasol; Tallahassee, Florida circa 1885-1911
Source: The State Library & Archives of Florida, Image Number HA00227 (click here for more details)

The two photos in this post are part of a wonderful collection of pictures taken by Alvan S. Harper which can be seen at Florida Memory.com, the online site for the State Library & Archives of Florida.

Alvan S. Harper was a professional photographer from Pennsylvania who moved to Florida in 1884. He operated a photography studio in Tallahassee until he passed away in 1911. His clientele included the black middle class. Perhaps it was his northern origins, or maybe, his skill as a photographer. Whatever-his portraits of African Americans are always dignified, and often gorgeous. His subjects display a sense of pride and assurance that is almost tangible, and belies the coming of an era (Jim Crow) that would challenge the confidence of all black Americans. (The collection also includes pictures of whites and their black servants.)

A link to the photo collection is here. Enjoy.


Man in a satin-faced coat, holding a cane; Tallahassee, Florida circa 1885-1911
Source: The State Library & Archives of Florida, Image Number: HA00969 (click here for more details)

Negro boy holding hand of small white girl during White House Easter egg roll, 1898


White House – Negro boy holding hand of small white girl during Easter egg roll, 1898
Frances Benjamin Johnston, photographer
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, (Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-46453)
For more information about the photo: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2007678673/

This photograph was taken at the 1898 White House Easter egg roll. William McKinley was the president.

Clarence Lusane describes the image in his book The Black History of the White House:

At the end of the nineteenth century, when Jim Crow segregation and “separate but equal” black codes were aggressively enforced throughout the South, few African Americans were permitted to even visit the White House. As the [above] photo indicates, however, black children were allowed to attend the White House’s annual Easter egg-rolling ceremony. Permitting black children to integrate with white children on the White House premises one day a year was acceptable, even though such mingling was illegal in many public spaces throughout the South at the time, including libraries and schools.

Desperate


“…but I did not want to go and I jumped out the window…”
Source: “A Portraiture of Domestic Slavery, in the United States,” by Jesse Torrey, 1817 (Page 43)

When most people think of the “horrors” of slavery, the first thing that comes to mind is physical abuse, and perhaps second, the sexual exploitation of slave women by their male masters. But for the slaves, nothing was more devastating than the loss of family.

Slaves had no marriage or family rights. Slave owners could, and did, split up families as necessary to meet their needs or interests. It didn’t happen “all the time”; but if it happened once in a slave’s lifetime – that would be horrible enough, and something a slave would not forget or forgive.

So devastating was the loss of family that some slaves… just lost it. Or at least, that is the story told by New Yorker Jesse Torrey, Jr (or Jesse Torrey “Jun” in some places) in his book “A Portraiture of Domestic Slavery, in the United States,” which was published in 1817. {The full title of the book is “A Portraiture of Domestic Slavery, in the United States: with reflections on the practicability of restoring the moral rights of the Slave, without impairing the legal privileges of the possessor; and a Project of a Colonial Asylum for Free Persons of Colour: including Memoirs of Facts on the interior Traffic in Slaves, and on Kidnapping. Illustrated with Engravings.” Folks in the 19th century were sometimes given to long-winded oratory and long-winded book or pamphlet titles.}

As noted here (page xv),

Torrey did not seek or anticipate immediate abolition of slavery. For the present he desired humane treatment of the bondmen, and urged their owners to be “guardians, patrons, benefactors and neighbours” to them; in the future he advocated gradual redemption by governmental purchase. He was especially moved by the wrongs suffered by slaves who had been freed and afterwards kidnapped into slavery again, brought legal suits himself to secure the restitution of their liberty and aided in raising subscriptions to defray the legal expenses of the trials. In recognition of his efforts, the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage, voted him a formal letter of thanks in August, 1816.

In his book, Torrey recounts the story of a slave woman who, so distraught over losing her husband when she and her children were sold, throws herself out a window, shattering her back in the process. Torrey captures the event in the engraving at the top of this blog entry. In that image, the slave woman seems to float in the air, almost frozen in time; the viewer is struck by the surreal sight of this black woman in white, surrounded by dark and suspended over the street below. In Torrey’s book, the caption beneath the picture foretells the woman’s fate, once time unfreezes: “…but I did not want to go and I jumped out the window…”
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Three Children with Nanny


Children on Lawn at Brook Hill [Nanny hiding behind the children] (circa 1905); for detailed information, go here.
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries Digital Collections » Through the Lens of Time Collection
Copyright is held by the Valentine Richmond History Center.

This is from a digital collection of photographs titled Through the Lens of Time: Images of African Americans from the Cook Collection. The online collection has over 250 images of African Americans dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth century, selected from the George and Huestis Cook Photograph Collection at the Valentine Richmond History Center. The digitally scanned images on this site are of prints from glass plate negatives or film negatives taken by George S. Cook (1819-1902) and his son Huestis P. Cook (1868-1951), primarily in the Richmond and Central Virginia area. The physical Collection consists of over 10,000 negatives taken from the 1860s to the 1930s in Virginia and the Carolinas.

Although George and Huestis Cook were white, much of the photo content in the collection includes images of African Americans. Huestis Cook is credited as being one of the earliest Southern photographers to picture African Americans in realistic settings.

This image from the collection has a probably unintended symbolism that is inescapable today.

United Colors of the Union Army


Soldier Group, circa Civil War
Source: Library of Congress

I wish there was more to tell about this diverse group of Union “men.” The picture, from a Library of Congress collection, is simply titled “Soldier group.” Details on the photo, such as its Library of Congress reporduction number, are here.

If any one can share any information or insights on the photo, I’d be much obliged.

Training School for Wives and Mothers, Baton Rouge, LA, 1888

This photograph is from the book “In Christ’s Stead”: Autobiographical Sketches, which is the memoir of Joanna P. Moore, a white missionary who dedicated her life to improving the condition of African Americans in the South. A summary of the book is here.

This is from the book, which tells of how Moore’s training school in Baton Rouge was shut down:

After the close of the school at Point Coupee, I moved with all my belongings to Baton Rouge, where I opened under promising auspices a school which I hoped might be permanent, but which continued but two years and a half.

I was very enthusiastic, as were also all the teachers associated with me. The Women’s Baptist Home Mission Society paid my salary and that of Miss Button while she was with me. Besides this expenses were provided for by God who thus set the seal of His approval on the work.

While in Baton Rouge I received one hundred dollars from the Happy Thought League, under the care of Mrs. P. G. McCollin, who is now in heaven. That money came in a time of great need. I would weary my reader if I told of the many answers to prayer in so many ways during my short pilgrimage. The money came pouring in, so that I had $2,000 in my hands with which to purchase the home in which my school was held, but the bargain was not closed when all my hopes were shattered and my school destroyed. This is the sad part of my story. God help me to tell it wisely, kindly, and truthfully.

I find among my records a conversation I had with one of my pupils about two months after this calamity:

“Sister Moore, is our school for colored women really closed?” “Yes, my scholars all went home, and so far I find it impossible to have them return.”

“Why did any one disturb your school?” “I cannot tell; I thought everything was peace and safety. I did not think any of the white people had very serious objections to my school.”

“What was in the notice put on your gate?” “There were the emblems of death–a skull and cross-bones and the notice stated that I was ordered by the ‘White League’ to close my school and leave the place.”

“Why did they do such a cruel thing when we were having such a blessed, quiet school and not molesting any one?” “The reason given in the notice is exactly in these words, ‘You are trying to educate the niggers to consider themselves the equals of the white people.’”

“Oh, I am so sorry! What do the white people mean? If we steal or fight they punish us, and then when some one comes to tell us in a kind loving way how to be good and do right, then they want to drive her away.”

“I don’t understand it myself, all that seems to be now in my power, is to ask the Lord to open some other door by which my dear women may get an education, and be taught the Bible and the duties of home life.”

“What did you do when you found the notice at your gate?” “I got my bonnet and went down town and showed it to three or four of the best white people in town.”

“What did they say?” “They were indignant, and said it was an outrage, and promised they would do what they could do to protect me. I also showed it to the mayor and other officials, and they promised the same.”

“Have they made any effort to find the guilty persons?” “I don’t know that they have.”

“Oh, Miss Moore, what will become of the colored people?” “God will take care of them, my dear child, if not on earth, there is a safe place up in heaven. Persecutions are a part of the bargain God makes with His children. Let us be patient. God knows it all, and Rom. 8:28 is true. “All things work together for good to them that love God.” This trouble will in some way work together for good. We must trust God’s promises.”

The above is a sample of many conversations with my women.

The photo is from an online version of the book at the University of North Carolina’s Documenting the American South website. It is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which had made it available to be freely used by individuals for research, teaching and personal use.

Colored Soldier and Family, circa Civil War


Unidentified African American soldier in Union uniform with wife and two daughters
Source: Library of Congress

From the Library of Congress description of the photograph: This photo shows a soldier in uniform, a wife in dress and hat, and two daughters wearing matching coats and hats. In May 1863, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton issued General Order No. 143 creating the Bureau of U. S. Colored Troops. This image was found in Cecil County, Maryland, making it likely that this soldier belonged to one of the seven U.S.C.T. regiments raised in Maryland. (Source: Matthew R. Gross and Elizabeth T. Lewin, 2010)

More details can be found at the Library of Congress record for the photo, which is here.

This framed picture is from the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs. You can browse the entire set of photos in this online collection by starting here.

The Confederate soldier’s view of the colored soldier, Part 2: Sketches from Prison (“De’ Bottom Rails on Top Now”)


Drawing of a US Colored Troop prison guard and a Confederate prisoner at Point Lookout, Maryland. The guard tells the prisoner: “Git away from dat dar fence white man or I’ll make Old Abe’s Gun smoke at you I can hardly hold de ball back now. De bottom rails on top now.”
Source: “Guard challenging Prisoner,” from Point Lookout Sketches

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In antebellum America, and in the American South in particular, the black male slave had no honor or manhood. He was considered “degraded,” lacking any rights that a white man was bound to respect, and lacking any dignity that a white man was bound to recognize.

And then the Union decided to arm the slaves in its war against the Confederacy. And everything changed.

What a sight it must have been for Confederate soldiers to see: former slaves on the battlefield, armed, dangerous, and fighting for a different vision of the South. It was one of the Confederate soldier’s worst fears, come to life.

Imagine how much worse it must have been for a Confederate soldier to be taken prisoner, and having those former slaves as his prison guards. Now, it was the black man who was keeping the white man from freedom. Just imagine…


A USCT guard warns a Confederate prisoner, “You little Reb wid de red shirt double quick into line or I’ll pop a cap at you.” First prisoner: “Oh I’m nearly broke down.” Second prisoner (with red shirt): “Oh me! I’m nearly froze.”
Source: “On a cold night in January,” from Point Lookout Sketches

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Links of Interest, 2/26/2011

Some links of interest:

• Is it wrong for me to think this is funny?

• It’s Oscars weekend! Historian Gary Gallagher offers his thoughts on Civil War movies here and here. These are based on his book Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War.

• If you want do some reading about the US Colored Troops, The Sable Arm blog offers several suggestions in Top 12 Books: USCT Edition.

• Andy Hall’s Dead Confederates blog has an interesting post about a female African American member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

• Last but not least: the 6TH Regiment Infantry United States Colored Troops, Reenactors Inc. has an online photo album of reenactment activities that’s worth a quick look. Two groups of pictures caught my interest.


This is from a set of phots titled “Three Centuries of Black Soldiers.” (See the Announcement below.)


This is from a set of photos titled “Battle of Pensacola.” This appears to be a reenactment of the Revolutionary War’s Siege of Pensacola in 1781, (see picture 9 of 9), not the Battle of Pensacola that took place during the War of 1812.

Announcement: If you’re in the Trenton, NJ area on February 26-27, there will be a “Three Centuries of Black Soldiers” event at The Old Barracks Museum. Follow the link for more details.

Frederick Douglass: Fighting Against a “White Man’s War”/Part 3

Part 2 of 3 of this Frederick Douglass birthday celebration is here.


President Lincoln recruiting the Negro: One good turn deserves another, London Punch, 1862.

The caption reads, “Why, I du declare, it’s my dear old friend Sambo. Course you’ll fight for us, Sambo. Lend us a hand, old hoss, du.” This cartoon was published a month before Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862. More details on the cartoon are here.

One notable aspect of the cartoon is that the black character is depicted realistically, while the Lincoln figure is caricatured. In American cartoons, it was common to show blacks as having exaggerated and buffoonish facial features, such as huge lips.
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I congratulate you, upon what may be called the greatest event of our nation’s history (issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation), if not the greatest event of the century…

In the hurry and excitement of the moment, it is difficult to grasp the full and complete significance of President Lincoln’s proclamation. The change in attitude of the Government is vast and startling. For more than sixty years the Federal Government has been little better than a stupendous engine of Slavery and oppression, through which Slavery has ruled us, as with a rod of iron. The boast that Cotton is King was no empty boast. Assuming that our Government and people will sustain the President and the Proclamation, we can scarcely conceive of a more complete revolution in the position of a nation…

I hail it as the doom of Slavery in all the States. I hail it as the end of all that miserable statesmanship, which has for 60 years juggled and deceived the people, by professing to reconcile what is irreconcilable.

We are all liberated by this proclamation. Everybody is liberated. The white man is liberated, the black man is liberated, the brave men now fighting the battles of their country against rebels and traitors are now liberated, and may strike with all their might, even if they do hurt the Rebels, at their most sensitive point. [Applause.] I congratulate you upon this amazing change—the amazing approximation toward the sacred truth of human liberty.
- Frederick Douglass, Speech at The Cooper Institute in New York, February 6, 1863

****

By February 1863, Frederick Douglass was surely feeling joyful and triumphant. On January 1 of 1863, president Abraham Lincoln issued the final version of the Emancipation Proclamation. America’s slaves were declared forever free – with the caveat that the slave-holding Border States (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri) and some Unionist or Union controlled areas in the Confederacy (such as Tennessee and Louisiana) were exempted. But that wasn’t a show stopper for Douglass; he believed that the Proclamation marked the beginning of the end of slavery. Time would prove him correct.

But in the short run, there was a war to fight. After the issuance of the Proclamation, the Union’s efforts to recruit black men into the army began in earnest. And it wasn’t a sure thing that black men would enlist.

Many blacks were angry that they were denied enlistment when the war started, being told this was a “white man’s war.” The Emancipation Proclamation, for all the hope it offered, did not free slaves in Union strongholds; this was not the unequivocal call for black freedom that many wanted to see. And blacks were infuriated when they discovered that colored soldiers were paid less than their white counterparts. Wasn’t a black man’s life worth as much as a white man’s, they asked?

But where some had doubts, Douglass had resolve. No black leader was more prominent, insistent, and supportive of black enlistment than Douglass, at least in the several months after the Proclamation. Earlier, he said that unless the Union committed to ending slavery, “they don’t deserve the support of a single sable arm.” Now that the Union made the commitment, Douglass was all in.

While freedom for the slaves was paramount, Douglass saw another purpose in black military service: it would give colored people the opportunity to prove, through manly courage and performance of duty, that their race was worthy of full citizenship. Douglass understood that freedom and equality were not the same thing. If the colored man was to attain his due rights and respect, he must fight to earn it. If whites were fighting for their cause, then blacks could do no less for their own.

In his March 1863 “Men of Color to Arms” speech, Douglass argued

From East to West, from North to South, the sky is written all over, “Now or never.” Liberty won by white men would lose half its luster. “Who would be free themselves must strike the blow.” “Better even die free, than to live slaves.” This is the sentiment of every brave colored man amongst us. There are weak and cowardly men in all nations. We have them amongst us. They tell you this is the “white man’s war”; and you will be “no better off after than before the war”; that the getting of you into the army is to “sacrifice you on the first opportunity.” Believe them not; cowards themselves, they do not wish to have their cowardice shamed by your brave example. Leave them to their timidity, or to whatever motive may hold them back.

Douglass’ play of the “coward card” was a harsh critique for those not wanting to enlist, coming as it did in a male dominated era where the willingness to stand-up for one’s self and fight was a necessary proof of manhood; and in a racist era where the black male was stereotyped as docile, submissive, and lacking in fortitude. His rhetorical challenge went to the heart of 19th century conceptions of what it meant to be a man: if you’re not man enough to fight in this war, Douglass argued to his fellows, then you deserve your degraded position in American society.
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Off Topic Saturday: The Black South of Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange is a famous American photographer. She worked for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the 1930s, going across the country to take pictures that documented the effects of the Great Depression on the American people.

She is best known for her Migrant Mother picture, which has been called “an iconic image of the Great Depression.” Lange’s work took her all over the South, where she took pictures of both struggling blacks and whites. Many of her FSA photographs are available from the Library of Congress’ online archives. I user several of her photos to create this slideshow of black life in the South during the Great Depression.

These photographs are a vivid reminder of how tough those days were. But it’s notable that the black folks in these pictures look hardened, but not broken. They are lean, strong, and unbowed. Life is hard, and they accept it as such. Indeed, for many of them, a hard life is the only life they’ve known.

These pictures were taken in Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas during the mid to late 1930s.

The music is from a traditional spiritual performed by Texas gospel singer Blind Willie Johnson (vocal and guitar) and Willie B. Harris (vocal) in 1927. The song is titled “Keep Your Light Trimmed and Burning.”

Frederick Douglass: The First Black Media Star?


The Photogenic Frederick Douglass: Portrait of the Abolitionist as a Young Man

Black was not beautiful in the 19th century. An 1862 editorial in the New York Times proclaimed that any interest in the negro could not “arise from his beauty, for no writer on aesthetics has ever pretended to find either beauty or grace in the shambling African.” There was even talk that dark skin was a sign of the mark of Ham, indicating that the negro was both stained and shamed in a Biblical sense.

You couldn’t tell any of that from looking at pictures of Frederick Douglass. To use a modern phrase, he loved the camera, and the camera loved him. Perhaps the white genes he inherited from his father, which both softened and sharpened his negro features, made him more appealing to those of European heritage. Perhaps it was broad, manly look and physical presence, which film was able to capture. Perhaps it was his obvious self-confidence. Maybe it was his old-school (old century?) afro, combed down (not out, as with 60s/70s style ‘fros), which framed his face like a lion’s mane. Or maybe it was simply because he had a lot of practice in front of the camera.

Whatever the reason, Fred Douglass was one of the most – perhaps the most – photographed and depicted negroes of his time. This only added to a fame that was built on being an outstanding orator, in an era when the ability to speak before a crowd was prized; and on his writing ability, as shown in his newspapers The North Star and Douglass’ Monthly. If not a king of all media, to use a modern term, he was at least a prince.

He was the face of the black community, but he also had crossover appeal. His communication skills and presence served him well with white and black audiences – and male and female audiences – equally well. (Douglass was a woman’s suffrage supporter and spoke at women’s rights meetings.)

He aged well, no less a sight in his older days than his youth. In truth, he was a media star for the ages.

Burying the Dead

This iconic image from the Civil War is also one of its most grisly.

The photograph was taken on the site of the Battle of Cold Harbor. Wiki says the battle “is remembered as one of American history’s bloodiest, most lopsided battles. Thousands of Union soldiers were killed or wounded in a hopeless frontal assault against the fortified troops of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.” Cold Harbor, Virginia, is located near the Richmond-Petersburg area. The battle took place in May/June 1864, but the photograph was taken in 1865.

Some estimates put the number of Union deaths from Cold Harbor at around 1800 men; wounded and injured at around 9000 men; and captured and missing at around 1800 men. By contrast, some reports state that the Confederates suffered under 100 deaths, around 3000 wounded, and captured and missing around 1000. But the numbers vary by source, as the wiki article for the battle shows.

Somebody had to deal with all the dead, and in this case, it appears that contrabands – runaway slaves who fled to the Union lines – got that duty. I’ve read at least one description of the photo which says these men were members of the Union army, but I haven’t seen enough evidence to establish that description as correct. Although, the hats on the men in the background, which we can’t see all that well, do resemble soldier caps.

The website for the John Paul Getty Museum describes the picture:

This gruesome scene depicts the unpleasant job of burying the remains of fallen Union soldiers from the June 1864 battles of Gaines’ Mill and Cold Harbor. This task has fallen to a group of black men doing the menial work while a white man standing at upper left acts as overseer. The man seated in the center, next to the stretcher laden with human parts, looks directly at the camera, revealing no emotion that can be reconciled with his grisly cargo.

Already reduced to nothing more than a pile of bones, these bodies lay unburied for ten months until the war’s end, while the blistering heat and humidity of the Virginia summer hastened their decomposition. Local residents usually came forth to give a proper burial to the enemy troops that fell near their homes, but the scale of the casualties here–nearly sixty thousand Union soldiers were killed or wounded in this area–precluded this courtesy.

This picture highlights the fact that during the war, the Union army made good use of the newly-emancipated freedmen to perform these and other tasks. Thousands of black men and women provided noncombatant support for the Federals.

The photograph was taken by John Reekie, a photographer with the famous Mathew Brady studio in Washington, D.C.

Source: Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. “[Cold Harbor, Va. African Americans collecting bones of soldiers killed in the battle]“
CALL NUMBER: LC-B817- 7926; REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-DIG-cwpb-04324 DLC (digital file from original neg.); LC-B8171-7926 DLC (b&w film neg.)

To view all of the photo images on this site so far, click here.

EDIT: Andy Hall, who publishes the excellent blog Dead Confederates, provided this:

Drew Faust reproduces this image in her book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. She identifies the men as being under the command of Captain James Moore, who would soon be transferred to the site of Andersonville to (with Clara Barton) supervise the disinterment and reburial of the Union dead there. The men in this image would seem to be USCTs:

InJune 1865 Captain James Moore, an assistant quartermaster who had’ been active in fledgling graves registration efforts during the war, was ordered to the Wilderness and Spotsylvania “for the purpose of superintending the interments of the remains of Union soldiers yet unburied and marking their burial-places for future identification.” Moore found hundreds of unmarked graves, as well as skeletons that had been left for more than two years without the dignity of burial. “By exposure to the weather,” he reported, “all traces oftheir identity were entirely obliterated.” Summer heat and “the unpleasant odor from decayed matter” prevented him from removing all bodies to a central location, but he made sure all were carefully interred, with remains appropriately “hidden from view.” On these two fields he estimated that he oversaw the burial offifteen hundred men, although the scattering of so many bones made an exact count impossible. Soldiers of the U.S. Colored Troops, not yet mustered out of service, did the often repellent work. Moore reported that 785 tablets were erected over named graves, and he submitted a list ofthe officers and men he had identified.

I think the men in this image are, in fact, USCTs, not only because of their kepis, but because their clothing is uniform and in good shape — contrabands generally appear in photos to be much less well clothed.

Library of Congress high-res TIFF versions available:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002713100/

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/cwp2003000494/PP/

Keep up the good work. (I almost said “keep digging,” but, you know. . . .)

Two Platforms in Pennsylvania, 1866: The Choice is Black and White

This is a political campaign poster from 1866. It’s described in Wiki:

“The two platforms” – From a series of racist posters attacking Radical Republican exponents of black suffrage, issued during the 1866 Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. (See “The Constitutional Amendment,” no. 1866-5.) The poster specifically characterizes Democratic candidate Hiester Clymer’s platform as “for the White Man,” represented here by the idealized head of a young man. (Clymer ran on a white-supremacy platform.) In contrast a stereotyped black head represents Clymer’s opponent James White Geary’s platform, “for the Negro.”

Below the portraits are the words, “Read the platforms. Congress says, The Negro must be allowed to vote, or the states be punished.” Above is an explanation: “Every Radical in Congress Voted for Negro Suffrage. Every Radical in the Pennsylvania Senate Voted for Negro Suffrage. Stevens [Pennsylvania Representative Thaddeus Stevens], Forney [John W. Forney, editor of the " Philadelphia Press":], and Cameron [Pennsylvania Republican boss Simon Cameron] are for Negro Suffrage; they are all Candidates for the United States Senate. No Radical Newspaper Opposes Negro Suffrage. “Geary” said in a Speech at Harrisburg, 11th of August, 1866–”There Can Be No Possible Objection to Negro Suffrage.”

This poster hails from the beginning of the Reconstruction era, just after the Civil War ended. The poster is correct in some respects. The so-called “Radical Republicans,” in and out of the US Congress, favored suffrage (voting rights) for the newly freed slaves. That policy was opposed in large part by the Democratic Party, using language that was sometimes viciously racist. Note that this poster was made by a northern Democrat, illustrating how divisive the issues of race and black rights were at the time even outside the South.

Source: Library of Congress CALL NUMBER: Broadside Collection, portfolio 159, no. 9 c-Rare Bk Coll. This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g05342.