MEDIA
The Shackle Broken — By the Genius of Freedom.
Original Author: E. Sachse & Co., lithographer and publisher
Created: ca. 1874
Medium: Lithograph

The Shackle Broken — By the Genius of Freedom.

A lithograph titled The Shackle Broken—By the Genius of Freedom promotes the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1875. South Carolina congressman Robert B. Elliott, at center, delivers a passionate oration in support of the bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on January 6, 1874. A snippet from his talk—"What you give to one class you must give to all"—hangs on a banner from the ceiling. At top and bottom are scenes of African Americans serving in the Union army and navy during the Civil War. Other illustrations include President Abraham Lincoln atop a pedestal holding arrows in one hand and the Emancipation Proclamation in the other; and Charles Sumner, a Massachusetts advocate for freedpeople who introduced the bill, on a similar pedestal holding the "Bill of Civil Rights" in his hand. Beneath Sumner's image it says: "Equality of rights is the first of rights." In the center bottom panel, African Americans till the soil in a prosperous farm scene and the caption reads, "American Slave Labour is of the Past—Free Labour is of the Present—We Toil for our Own Childern [sic] and Not for Those of Others." Surrounding the illustrations are the words, "Liberty," "Equality," "Jury & Ballot"—the rights guaranteed to African Americans by the Civil Rights Act, which was signed into law on March 1, 1875.

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