Eye Level: The Civil War and American Art: “The Alphabet is An Abolitionist”

Not long after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on the first day of 1863, artist Eastman Johnson composed the small painting shown here. EntitledThe Lord Is My Shepherd, it portrays a young black man reading the Bible intently. He may well be a former slave, and reading scripture could… 

Eye Level: The Civil War and American Art: “The Alphabet is An Abolitionist”.

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One thought on “Eye Level: The Civil War and American Art: “The Alphabet is An Abolitionist”

  1. Jim Wheeler

    Thanks for this, Jennifer. This is a striking picture I had not seen before, but it is timely for me because I just finished reading Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals”. As she describes painstakingly, the Emancipation Proclamation was not designed to free all the slaves but instead used the President’s war powers to confiscate (human) “property” being used by secessionist states only to support their war efforts. Nevertheless, it heartened, inspired and gave hope to all slaves, slaves like the one in the portrait, and it no doubt gratified Honest Abe and abolitionists everywhere in its effects.

    Reply

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