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Historical Documents
A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows
1792

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A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows

click image for close-up
This disturbing image was created for a book entitled, Narrative of a Five-Years' Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam. The author, Englishman John Gabriel Stedman, was hired by the Dutch to help quell slave uprisings in their South American colony. In his "narrative" he describes the plants and animals he encountered, as well as how he and fellow soldiers tortured runaway slaves who had been recaptured.

A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows is based on a crude sketch by Stedman, engraved by the famous English poet and artist, William Blake. Its graphic depiction of a slave in Surinam hanging by a single rib illustrates the general lack of compassion whites had when dealing with enslaved Africans throughout the world.

Image Credit: James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota




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