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Decorative Arts

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830
The inscription “Am I not a man and a brother?” on this medallion made it a potent early emblem of the antislavery movement. Josiah Wedgwood, the founder of the pottery bearing his name, was an original member of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. These medallions were distributed free of charge to supporters of the cause, who in turn sold them to raise money for the Society. Benjamin Franklin, president of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, received a quantity of these medallions.
MEDIUM terracotta on basalt (stoneware)
DATES after 1786
DIMENSIONS 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. (3.2 x 3.2 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Impressed on back: "WEDGWOOD"
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
CREDIT LINE Gift of Emily Winthrop Miles
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CAPTION William Hackwood (died 1836). Medallion, after 1786. terracotta on basalt (stoneware), 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. (3.2 x 3.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Emily Winthrop Miles, 55.9.25v. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 55.9.25v_PS9.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 55.9.25v_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Circular medallion, unframed, terracotta bas-relief on basalt, of kneeling (on one knee) Negro slave with wrist and ankles locked in chains. The figure (unclothed except loin cloth) in three-quarter profile facing right, hands held up to level of his face in supplication. Around edge of field is printed in relief "Am I not a man and a brother?" Condition: Excellent
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