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Daguerreotype of John Brown

Daguerreotype of John Brown

Abolitionist John Brown raises his right hand as if taking an oath in this daguerreotype made in 1846 or 1847, the earliest known portrait of him. In his left hand he holds the standard, or flag, that represented his "Subterranean Pass-Way"— his secret plan to extend the Underground Railroad through the Appalachians all the way to the Deep South in order to free the enslaved on a massive scale. The African American photographer Augustus Washington, the son of a former slave, made this image at his daguerreian studio in Hartford, Connecticut. Both Brown and Washington were deeply committed to ending slavery.

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