Media: Slideshow

Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford's Antislavery Journal

The irresistable genius of universal emancipation!!!

This pen-and-ink sketch, titled The irresistable genius of universal emancipation!!!, shows an angelic, winged figure, representing American liberty, holding onto a chained slave. Lieutenant Charles L. C. Minor drew this ironic cartoon, and his sister, the antislavery leader Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford, wrote a lengthy caption describing the occasion of its creation. When Charles Minor stopped by to see his brother Lewis in Philadelphia in 1830, he wasn't there. Instead of writing a note, Charles just left behind this sketch knowing that his brother would immediately realize who it was, for Lewis understood "how deeply Charles felt the inconsistency of his country's making such loud boasts of liberty, while we kept so many of our fellow creatures in abject slavery, denying them some of the dearest rights of human beings …" Mary Blackford wrote further about how her brother Charles had "liberated the only slave he owned, a young man, a tradesman, who had been hired out for several years." Charles gave the emancipated slave, Raph, the money he had earned for hiring him out. When his sister noted, "I thought that giving him his liberty was enough," her brother replied that "he did not want Raph's money." 

Mary Blackford pasted this sketch and description into a journal she kept that included other antislavery sentiments.

Citation: Launcelot Minor Blackford Papers, 1832–1865, Accession #5088. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Original Author: Charles L. C. Minor, artist; Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford, author

Created: 1830

Medium: Pen-and-ink sketch

Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

"Notes illustrative of the wrongs of slavery."

These are the opening pages of an antislavery journal filled with newspaper clippings and assorted quotes that Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford began in 1832 and maintained for decades thereafter. On the page at right, Blackford cited quotes from the Old Testament concerning the wickedness of oppression. On the page at left, she pasted newspaper clippings from varying time periods. One news item from before the Civil War describes a man subjected to "Lynch Law" in Scottsville. In that instance, a man cited for "using language tending to encourage insurrectionary movements among the slave population" was paraded through the streets on a rail and then tarred and feathered. In contrast, the facing clipping from 1878 reports on a speech made by Peter Burwell Starke of Brunswick County in the House of Delegates. Starke argued that African Americans proved their loyalty to the white population of the South during the Civil War, despite being pressured by the Union army "to slay and burn those who had so long held them in slavery." For their role in "standing guard to defend the whites instead of slaying them," Starke contended that "these colored men should be recognized as citizens" in apportioning representatives to the General Assembly.

Citation: Launcelot Minor Blackford Papers, 1832–1865, Accession #5088. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

 

 

Original Author: Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford

Created: Nineteenth century

Medium: Journal pages

Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

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  • The irresistable genius of universal emancipation!!!

    This pen-and-ink sketch, titled The irresistable genius of universal emancipation!!!, shows an angelic, winged figure, representing American liberty, holding onto a chained slave. Lieutenant Charles L. C. Minor drew this ironic cartoon, and his sister, the antislavery leader Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford, wrote a lengthy caption describing the occasion of its creation. When Charles Minor stopped by to see his brother Lewis in Philadelphia in 1830, he wasn't there. Instead of writing a note, Charles just left behind this sketch knowing that his brother would immediately realize who it was, for Lewis understood "how deeply Charles felt the inconsistency of his country's making such loud boasts of liberty, while we kept so many of our fellow creatures in abject slavery, denying them some of the dearest rights of human beings …" Mary Blackford wrote further about how her brother Charles had "liberated the only slave he owned, a young man, a tradesman, who had been hired out for several years." Charles gave the emancipated slave, Raph, the money he had earned for hiring him out. When his sister noted, "I thought that giving him his liberty was enough," her brother replied that "he did not want Raph's money." 

    Mary Blackford pasted this sketch and description into a journal she kept that included other antislavery sentiments.

    Citation: Launcelot Minor Blackford Papers, 1832–1865, Accession #5088. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

    Original Author: Charles L. C. Minor, artist; Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford, author

    Created: 1830

    Medium: Pen-and-ink sketch

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

  • "Notes illustrative of the wrongs of slavery."

    These are the opening pages of an antislavery journal filled with newspaper clippings and assorted quotes that Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford began in 1832 and maintained for decades thereafter. On the page at right, Blackford cited quotes from the Old Testament concerning the wickedness of oppression. On the page at left, she pasted newspaper clippings from varying time periods. One news item from before the Civil War describes a man subjected to "Lynch Law" in Scottsville. In that instance, a man cited for "using language tending to encourage insurrectionary movements among the slave population" was paraded through the streets on a rail and then tarred and feathered. In contrast, the facing clipping from 1878 reports on a speech made by Peter Burwell Starke of Brunswick County in the House of Delegates. Starke argued that African Americans proved their loyalty to the white population of the South during the Civil War, despite being pressured by the Union army "to slay and burn those who had so long held them in slavery." For their role in "standing guard to defend the whites instead of slaying them," Starke contended that "these colored men should be recognized as citizens" in apportioning representatives to the General Assembly.

    Citation: Launcelot Minor Blackford Papers, 1832–1865, Accession #5088. Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

     

     

    Original Author: Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford

    Created: Nineteenth century

    Medium: Journal pages

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections