Saturday Evening Post History Minute: Using Photography to Fight Slavery

Photography was still relatively young in the 1860s. But even then, as today, it revealed the ugly truths about America’s inequality and the power to inspire change.

A 19th century photography of black servants and the white children in their charge.
(Library of Congress)

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  1. This video really shows just how complicated the whole issue is, beyond what we normally think of. These photographs are in excellent condition or have had excellent restorations, as they look ‘new’. It is not the first time I’ve heard of mixed race involving slaves and slave masters. It was brought up and depicted to some extent in the mini-series ‘North and South’ either Book I or II in 1985 and ’86.

    I hope there’s more understanding of everything involved so it’s not always a case of everything going back to square one in this country. There has to be a way dealing with the past and moving forward, but for now more time has to be spent on the former. Eventually, it would be great if the U.S. could get to a place where it’s handled/viewed the way American Jews have processed and handled the Holocaust; never forgetting it or trying to change history, but also not letting those events define them in the present day. In other words, getting to a place where the open wounds can heal to become scars and stay that way.

    It seems in some decades, like the 1970’s & ’80s it was closer to being the case, but then the Rodney King case and O.J. Simpson trial erased that illusion. There has to be a way to get a handle on this, or this country will remain in a perpetual bleak universe.

    In an odd coincidence, I knew a kid that looked like Charley 0:18-1:27 & 3:00 in the first grade. I saw the photo not too long ago in my storage. A black & white class photo from October 1963, 57 years ago. It’s the midway point between 1906 and 2020, but seems much more like the former, trust me.


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