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Anti-Slavery Seal

Artist: Josiah Wedgwood (1730 – 1795) Primary
Date: ca. 1790/1800
18th century
Dimensions: 0.88 x 0.75 in. (2.22 x 1.91 cm)
Object Type: Seal
Creation Place: Europe, England
Medium and Support: 18th century Wedgewood Black Basalt or 18th Century Jasperware Porcelain or basalt
Credit Line: Gift of the Benjamin Ortiz and Victor P. Torchia Jr. Collection, 2021.
Accession Number: 2021.06.01
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries, Print Case

This seal showing a kneeling enslaved African with the phrase "Am I not a man and a brother" became the ubiquitous image for 18th century British abolitionists movements. It is based on the design first created by Josiah Wedgewood and the Clapham Sect, a group of British Evangelical Christians dedicated to the ending of Britain's envolvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

For information on how the contemporary artist, Roberto Visani, has responded to this imagery, please see the essay writen by Sara Reisman that accompanied the exhibition "Do It Yourself" in 2021 as well as object 2021.12.01 in our permanent collection.


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Reformers who advocate the abolition of a custom or institution.
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Refers to the condition in which one human being is considered owned by another. An enslaved person is deprived of most of the rights ordinarily held by non-enslaved persons.

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