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Wednesday, July 01 2015

In 1861, the ideals outlined in the Declaration of Independence provided only faith for someday sharing that freedom by most of the African American population in America. An 1861 illustration painted by Dominque Fabronius paints that hope.

"An idealistic call for emancipation of the slaves. Held aloft by an eagle holding two American flags is an aerial carriage similar to the basket of a hot-air balloon with two occupants. One a black man who is a freed slave, his broken shackles falling to the ground at left. The second, a white man sharing the proclamation, "Break every Yoke; let the oppressed go free."

Image Credit: The American Declaration of Independence illustrated / Fabronious ; designed by R. Thayer; L. Prang & Co. Lith., Published by Thayer & Co. Boston, c1861. Click here to view a 8" x 10" version of the illustration.

The eagle, like his counterpart on the arms of the United States, has wings spread and holds olive branches in his left talon. Here he also holds oak branches in his right. Above his head is a burst of light with the verses:

My rays, where'er on earth they strike,
Fall on the black and white alike;
That government alone is free,
Which blesses all alike like me.

The flags have the mottoes "All Men Are Created Equal" and "Stand by the Declaration."

Below the carriage is a large crowd of people of all ages. Prominent are a Union soldier, a newsboy hawking the Boston "Herald" (left), and a free black man.

Longer verses appear to the left and right of the carriage, espousing on moral and historical grounds the emancipation of the slaves.

On the left:

Hark! a voice from heaven is calling!
Hear it sounding through the skies!
Chains from human limbs are falling!
God has heard the Captives cries!
With the "Stars and Stripes" above us,
All alike shall soon be free
When as brothers white men love us,
Shall an end of trouble be.

In your war with your oppressors,
When the British lion roared,
Black men fought 'gainst the aggressors,
Till aloft your Eagle soared.
With the "Stars and Stripes" above us,
You have made us wear the chain,
When as brothers you shall love us,
Then shall you have peace again.

On the right:

A man is a man howe'er dark his skin,
A heart that is human is beating within,
God regards not his color--and neither should we,
Then unchain' the Negro--and let him go free.

About this article
The American Declaration of Independence
Image:  Dominiqua C. Fabronius, 1861. L. Prang & Co. Lith., Boston.
Text: Library of Congress

Posted by: AT 04:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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