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The drawing known as Flora is believed to be of a young woman who was sold as a slave in Connecticut in 1796, 12 years after the state had voted for gradual manumission.
According to a bill of sale dated 1796, Asa Benjamin, of Stratford in Fairfield County, purchased a nineteen year old slave named Flora from Margaret Dwight of Milford in New Haven County, for the sum of twenty-five pounds sterling.
Accompanying the bill of sale was a silhouette, drawn on a 14x13-inch piece of cut-paper and colored with brown ink by an unknown and probably untrained artist. The silhouette was likely traced from a candle shadow and then filled in, and may have been sketched specifically for this transaction.
According to the Benjamins' records, Flora died on August 31, 1815.
Image Credit: Stratford Historical Society, Stratford, CT
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