In 1853, Eyre Crowe, a British artist, visited a slave auction in Richmond, Virginia. His painting of the scene was later exhibited at the Royal Gallery in London in 1861. In her new book Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade, Maurie McInnis (University of Virginia) describes the impact this pivotal painting had on the British Public at the outbreak of the American Civil War. Gregg Kimball (Library of Virginia) talks about a new exhibition of art dealing with the American slave trade. Also: Jonathan White (Christopher Newport University) says many Union soldiers were not for re-election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864, and were in fact pressured to vote for him.

Later in the show: 1619 was the year the first Africans arrived on the North American continent. There were at least 20 of them and they came as slaves from Angola. But what’s often overlooked is the culture they brought with them. Many were Christians with European names like Jean Pedro and Angela, and some came from cities. Scholars Linda Heywood and John Thornton recently discussed the lives of these first Africans at Norfolk State University’s 1619: The Making of America conference. Also featured: When we think of colonial American essayists, New Englanders like Cotton Mather and Ben Franklin come to mind. But recently discovered essays by an anonymous writer who called himself “The Humourist” are now being hailed as some of the best in America’s colonial period. Brent Kendrick (Lord Fairfax Community College) *thinks he’s discovered the real identity of their author.

*Update: Brent Kendrick has confirmed the identity of “The Humourist.” More here:

Want to dig deeper? Explore Encyclopedia Virginia.

Eyre Crowe’s Images of the Slave Trade

An article from 1856 in which Eyre Crowe describes his travels in the United States with Thackeray, including his pivotal experience in Richmond

A review of the London exhibition in which Crowe first showed Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia

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