Partner, Servant, or Slave?

Partner, Servant, or Slave?

John Aikin and Anna Letitia Barbauld, Evenings at Home. Philadelphia: Thomas T. Ash, ca. 1829-1831.

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This intriguing illustration depicts a white man about to toss a cabbage into the open arms of a black man in a boat; their relationship is ambiguous; is the black man a business partner, servant, or slave?  The boat’s sign offers the clue, “Sour Krout of Bergen”--which might refer to Bergen County, New Jersey, which was settled by both Dutch and German immigrants.  It is quite possible that the engraver was Alexander Anderson (1775-1870), who was known for his sensitive portrayal of race relations in Antebellum America.

Adopted by Valerie Cunningham

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