The 1850's View Towards Blacks

By Amit Sahoo and Matthew Zhao, Periods 5/6 BHamstud


Cultural Interactions in the 1850's started to lean towards humanizing and sympathizing with black slaves, as imagery from the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin shows African slaves as being capable of understanding religion, subject to torment from white owners, and as equal human beings.

Picture Explanation 4

This image both humanizes the slave, showing her as someone capable of human emotions of fear and helps to elicit feelings of pity, while also demonstrating that slaves were capable of Christianity and other "civilized" religions and should thus be treated as human beings with equal status
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Picture Explaination 5

This depiction humanizes the people as it shows the emotions of the blacks as real and genuine as what a white man may make. The small gestures show the humility and pleadings the blacks give to be noble like the whites.
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Picture Explaination 6

This image, with the scowl on the white man's face and the playful yet fearful faces of the black children, illustrates how slaves were often subject to the contempt and malice from the white slave owners.

Amit Sahoo Response

a. The more subtle ideas shown in the depiction show a hateful and satiric attack towards the whites as each show how the blacks are freely participating in events that whites prided themselves for being able to do, that defines them as superior. The fancier clothes and the closeness to Holy figures almost seem like the blacks are superior to the whites in character.

b. Most surprising was that it seemed that the black people had body structures very similar to white men depicted in other illustrations. Seemed as if you could replace the skin of the man and get a white man because their expressions and posture are so alike, the only noticeable difference being the skin color.

Matthew Zhao Response

A: Some of the more subtle ideas expressed in this time period were that blacks were capable of accepting religion (thus adding to the moral suasion argument of the abolitionists of the time period that it was morally wrong for Christians to enslave other Christians), that they were equally human with their own human emotions (fear, love, anger, kindness), and that white slave-owners were morally failures for treating slaves without human respect.

B: What was most surprising about the images I examined were that many of the images utilized a biblical theme in them (Slaves praying, white girl heroine ascending to become an angel). I personally believe that those biblical images were used in order to better support the moral suasion argument of the abolitionists.