Each day, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, posts an object of the day. Today’s object is a photograph by  Myron H. Kimball entitled “The Emancipated Slaves.” Kimball was an artist, apparently specializing in photography, who was active in the 1860s. The photography was taken in 1863 and features 8 formerly enslaved people from Louisiana. and is part of the Line Gilman Collection at the Met.   

The image, the possible story behind it, gave me so much to think about. We know two of those pictured and their names, but who are the other people in this photograph? What are their stories? What happened to them? How did they survive? The male in the back left of the photography has had his forehead branded by his former “owner.” The photographer enhanced the brand to make it more visible.  And yes, all 8 of the people featured in this photography were enslaved – all 8 of those pictured were of African ancestry.   

 Kimball was hired as part of a publicity campaign to capture the images of recently emancipated enslaved people. 

Myron H. Kimball (American, active 1860s) "The Emancipated Slaves"



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