Part 1: 1450-1750
Part 2: 1750-1805
<--Part 3: 1791-1831
Part 4: 1831-1865

Narrative | Resource Bank | Teacher's Guide

Historical Documents
William McLean, "Offended Dignity"

Resource Bank Contents

William McLean,

click image for close-up
In response to anti-slavery sentiment created by British female abolitionists, the October 1829 issue of the Westminster Review featured pro-abolition articles that detailed violence against female slaves in Jamaica and the Bahamas. Four months later, cartoonist William McLean published a broadside that satirized the articles as well as the abolitionists.

In McLean's rural, tropical setting, a black man and woman in "ball dress" converse while several black farmers look on. He holds a copy of the Westminster Review that depicts a white man raising a whip over a kneeling African female slave and, says "dem Buckra say darra you -- Miss Leah Tomkin." The woman, standing arms akimbo, retorts, "Dem Buckra tell big lie, Massa Richard Tanton -- an you an Buckra be one great fool."

The African female supplicant was popularized as an anti-slavery emblem in the late 1820s by the Ladies Negro's Friend Society, an abolitionist group in Birmingham, England.

Image Credit: Print Collection Mirium and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Print and Photographs The New York Public Library Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

previous | next

Related Entries:
Specimen of Modern Printing Types, No. 844

Part 3: Narrative | Resource Bank Contents | Teacher's Guide

Africans in America: Home | Resource Bank Index | Search | Shop

WGBH | PBS Online | ©