This was the top post for 2013! Enjoy!
When I selected this image for the beginning of Black History Month, I did so because it depicted a remarkable sculpture about which I knew nothing. The illustration showed well-to-do families interested in the freedman holding the Emancipation Proclamation in his left hand and the remains of broken shackle about his right wrist. “Which American sculptor did this?” I wondered.
Well, Frank Leslie’s Historical Register of the Centennial Exposition of 1876 (held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) doesn’t tell me. On page 133 of this massive volume, all I know was that the “Statue of ‘The Freed Slave’ ” was in Memorial Hall.
I learned that the sculptor was an Austro-Italian by the name of Francesco Pezzicar, who created this sculpture for sale, like many works seen at the Exposition and was part of the Austrian exhibit.The literal translation of the work is “Abolition of Slavery” (l’Abolizione della schiavitù) – which…
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