Can you read this Picture?

Can You Read This Picture?

Denham, Jacob S.  The Eagle Primer, no. 4. New York: Blakeman & Mason, ca. 1854. 

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This is a classic example of a mid-nineteenth-century primer in that it has a wood-engraved illustration on nearly page with simply worded text about the picture below.  Here we see a lame African American beggar receiving money from a well dressed white boy.  The caption text asks the reader to point to “the little black boy”--who apparently is a fairly middle-class looking boy with the dog in the back.  It pushes the envelope on our modern pre-conceived ideas of how people of color are portrayed in antebellum children’s books. 

Adopted by M. R. Boatwright McEvoy



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