Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Slaves Reading



Today's picture was taken in 1864, and shows a group of emancipated slaves reading. In some of the other pictures this week, some have wondered why the slaves were dressed so well, and why the owner would have pictures made. The pictures were taken AFTER Butler took New Orleans and emancipated the slaves. The slave children had come under the care of an organization that intended to educate them. In fact, the pictures we have been looking at were sold to raise funds for the project.

In this picture we see three of the children featured earlier this week . . . Charley Taylor, Rebecca Huger, and Rosina Downs. The black man in the picture is also a former slave, and his name is Wilson Chinn. I have the following information on Wilson.


WILSON CHINN is about 60 years old, he was "raised" by Isaac Howard of Woodford County, Kentucky. When 21 years old he was taken down the river and sold to Volsey B. Marmillion, a sugar planter about 45 miles above New Orleans. This man was accustomed to brand his negroes, and Wilson has on his forehead the letters "V. B. M." Of the 210 slaves on this plantation 105 left at one time and came into the Union camp. Thirty of them had been branded like cattle with a hot iron, four of them on the forehead, and the others on the breast or arm.

9 comments:

  1. So much for 3 strips on the hem of the dress meaning they were slaves. This girl has 4 strips.
    Must just be the style of the times.

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  2. Thanks for putting the time place and reason for the pictures in context. Our ancestor had taught her slave friend from her childhood to read and write as well. My cousin is working on a book to publish her letters, lest we ever forget.

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  3. Branding?!
    I think this topic has surprised me in how interesting it is to me. Thanks for featuring the photos and information this week.

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  4. I have found this an extremely interesting series as well as sad. What man has done to man!

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  5. We still have slaves but they are in other countries, countries who have horrible civil rights and many who are dictatorships......but we're still happy to do business with them. It's a new era a new century and new motivations and methods.
    The new slaves now produce products for the N. American market. They are poorly paid, many working in sweat shops, many under the oppression of their 'owners', women 'used' .....and this is all so we can have cheaper goods to consume and for our corporations to make higher profits.
    History books one day will make this all evident, but for the moment we are happy to pull out our credit card that has no conscience. Out of sight.....out of mind.

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  6. Anon 12:16
    Yes there is still slavery in the world. But if what you are talking about are the workers in 3rd wold countries making goods for export they are free wage earners not slaves. Their pay is very low by our standards but they do not live in expensive regions of the world. I would imagine your weekly salary would take care of a family over there for the better part of a year. I'll bet they are glad to have the work (making sneakers or whatever) and that it beats the hell out of what they would have to do if those companies pulled out.
    Now if you want to to see real slavery I suggest you look into some of the asian and dare I say it Muslim countries. You will find good old fashioned "I can do what I want to you because I own you" type of slavery. Big difference. First one is a crappy job (in our eyes). The second one you are property and probably treated even worse that the slaves of this weeks topic.

    John

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  7. Were these white children considered slaves because they were part black?

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  8. Yes. And the real kicker is the white part was sometimes the slave owner. Nice dad.

    John

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  9. I know this week is concentrating on New Orleans, but in slave owners were not always white. For example, there were several Black slave owners in the rice fields of South Carolina. We forget that slavery existed throughout the world. We were very late to recognize that it was horrific and had to end.

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