Decorative Arts and Design
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830
Designed by Henry Webber and modeled by William Hackwood in 1787, this medallion was manufactured in England by Josiah Wedgwood to support the antislavery movement. The objects were distributed to the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, whose members sold them to raise money for the cause. The powerful phrase “AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER?” became an abolitionist rallying cry and was later echoed in Civil Rights–era placards reading “I AM A MAN.”
terracotta on basalt (stoneware)
Impressed on back: "WEDGWOOD"
Gift of Emily Winthrop Miles
Circular medallion, unframed, terracotta bas-relief on basalt, of kneeling (on one knee) enslaved Black man with wrist and ankles locked in chains. The figure (unclothed except loin cloth) in three-quarter profile facing right, hands held up to level of his face in supplication. Around edge of field is printed in relief "Am I not a man and a brother?"
William Hackwood (died 1836). Medallion, after 1786. terracotta on basalt (stoneware), 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. (3.2 x 3.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Emily Winthrop Miles, 55.9.25v. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.9.25v_PS9.jpg)
overall, 55.9.25v_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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