History Bytes – Fragments of Our Story from Africa to the United States

Images of America by Edward Williams Clay, 1799-1857

Print shows an idealized portrayal of American slavery and the conditions of blacks under this system in 1841. The work of one such apologist for slavery, E. W. Clay, displays a consistent lack of sympathy for blacks.

AMERICA by Edward Williams ClayHere he shows an attractive and wealthy, slave-owning white family, including a husband, his wife, and their two children. The young daughter plays with a lean greyhound which stands before them. The son gestures toward an elderly black couple with a small child sitting at their feet.

A group of happy slaves dance in the background. The old slave says, “God Bless you massa! you feed and clothe us. When we are sick you nurse us, and when too old to work, you provide for us!”

The master vows piously, “These poor creatures are a sacred legacy from my ancestors and while a dollar is left me, nothing shall be spared to increase their comfort and happiness.”



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