Back Cover of William Wells Brown's Slave Narrative
Original Author: Patrick Reason, artist; Thomas Campbell, poet
Created: 1851 publication
Medium: Woodcut

Back Cover of William Wells Brown’s Slave Narrative

The back cover of the slave narrative Illustrated Edition of the Life and Escape of Wm. Wells Brown, published in London in 1851, features a woodcut by the African American artist Patrick Reason. The illustration depicts a slave bound to a flagpole flying the American flag; the enslaved man appears ready to be whipped.  A verse by the poet Thomas Campbell accompanies the image and cites the American flag as being simultaneously a symbol of "fame" and "shame"—with the stars indicating "white man's liberty" and the stripes "Negro scars."

Sponsors  |  View all