George Washington Miniature
History Detectives goes to the heart of Manhattan to investigate a tiny portrait which may lie at the center of some very big history.
It’s spring, 1789 and 20,000 Philadelphians pack the streets to catch a glimpse of their nation’s leader en route to New York. First in war and first in peace, George Washington has been elected President and as his inaugural procession forges north, America celebrates freedom from British rule. But for the thousands of enslaved African Americans watching the parade, liberty is nowhere in sight. If President Washington won’t pave their way to citizenship, who will?
Dave Cox of Greenville, Ohio, has stumbled across a miniature color painting of a man in profile labeled “G. Washington.” On the back of the portrait is the inscription, “Property of White Matlack, New York, 1790.” Did the artist paint this portrait of Washington from life, and what is its surprising connection to the little-known abolitionist and patriot, White Matlack?
- Also with Wes Cowan Cast Iron Eagle Did this 12-foot-high eagle once grace the old Grand Central Station in Manhattan?
- Related Investigation Philadelphia Freedom Paper Is this document found in a flea market an original freedom paper for African-Americans?
- Also with Wes Cowan WWII Patch What is the story behind these patches?
- Also with Wes Cowan Chinese Poems Who were the authors of the poems describing bitterness and misery on the Angel Island detention center walls?
- Related Investigation Chandler Tintype How did this Civil War era tintype help re-ignite a fiery debate about African Americans bearing arms for the confederacy?
- Also in Season 8 Theremin How did this strange instrument help spark a rock n’ roll revolution?
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