The Graduate Center - City University of New York


Consternation as well as celebration greeted the Emancipation Proclamation. Among the few pictorial endorsements that appeared in January, 1863, was a detailed double-page engraving in Harper's Weekly based on a drawing by its news artist and budding editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast heralded the Emancipation Proclamation by portraying scenes of African-American life in the South before and after freedom. These vignettes of cruel enslavement and potential equality circled around a central domestic scene featuring a black family in a parlor the appearance of which was similar to familiar sentimental prints of white families published before and during the war. An accompanying description delineated the image's many aspects. The engraving proved to be very popular, especially after Lincoln's death when this new, separately published edition substituted a portrait of the president for the image of Lucifer at the bottom of the print.

Creator: Thomas Nast

Date: 1865

Publisher: Philadelphia: S. Bott

Source: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress