Civil War, Double-Sided Recruiting Broadside, All Slaves Were Made Freemen by Abraham Lincoln, January 1863
Brilliant, chromolithographic double-sided broadside, 8.125 x 10 in., distributed in captured areas of the South and the North-East to encourage recently emancipated or freed slaves to join the Union Army. The verso reads: ALL SLAVES WERE MADE FREEMEN BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, JANUARY 1st 1863. Come then able Bodied COLORED MEN to the Nearest United States Camp, and Fight for the STARS AND STRIPES. A smaller version of a larger poster.
Printed on recto of the broadside is a proud soldier brandishing a sword and American flag with an inscribed banner, Freedom to the Slave. On the horizon, a long line of men of the U.S. Regt. Colored Troops march towards battle while desperate slaves on their hands and knees raise their shackled hands, begging a second Union soldier (possibly African American) to release them from bondage. On the left, an African American man sits beside his plow, reading a newspaper while a crowd of African American children walk towards a public school and church steeple.
Recent scholarship suggests that Fredrick Douglass authored the text for this broadside. Since the beginning of the war, Fredrick Douglass encouraged African Americans to join the cause. After the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) Douglass wrote to African American men, “You are a member of a long enslaved and despised race. Men have set down your submission to Slavery and insult, to a lack of manly courage. They point to this fact as demonstrating your fitness only to be a servile class. You should enlist and disprove the slander, and wipe out the reproach. When you shall be seen nobly defending the liberties of you own country against rebels and traitors — brass itself will blush to use such arguments imputing cowardice against you.”
Provenance: William Gladstone Collection of Early Photography & African Americana
Fine condition with a few minor surface stains on the left margin.