Skip Navigation

Henry Ward Beecher

George Augustus Baker Jr.

American Art

Henry Ward Beecher, the theatrical Congregationalist pastor of Brooklyn's Plymouth Church and a powerful antislavery orator (and the brother of Hamet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin), has been criticized by modern historians for convincing a wide national audience that abolition should be achieved gradually through the Christianization of African-American slaves, Despite his avoidance of radical abolitionist measures, his oratory nevertheless remained a powerful wartime force. He offered the following indictment of the complicity of New Yorkers in the practice of slavery: "We clothe ourselves with the cotton which the slave tills . . . It is you and I that wear the shirt and consume the luxury. Our looms and our factories are largely built on the slave's bones. We live on his labor."

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1874
DIMENSIONS 30 1/8 x 25 1/8in. (76.5 x 63.8cm)
SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "G.A. Baker / 1874"
CREDIT LINE Gift of the American Art Council
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.