Object Record

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Catalog Number 01.C.29
Object Name Medallion
Title Wedgwood Anti-Slavery Medallion
Artist Hackwood, William
School Wedgwood
Date ca. 1787
Description Blue, round, ceramic jasperware medallion with a kneeling figure in bas-relief at the center. The figure's wrists and ankles are bound with a length of chain, and he holds his hands upwards in a pleading gesture. "AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER." is inscribed in bas-relief around the outer perimeter. Unsigned and undated.
Label The APS holds two Wedgwood anti-slavery medallions, one of which was likely owned by Benjamin Franklin. Depicting a chained, kneeling slave, and inscribed "Am I Not a Man and a Brother?", these medallions were most frequently seen in black on white jasper dip (see B / F 85). Other colors, such as this blue and white version, may reflect the desire for the medallion to be a fashion statement as well as a political one. English ceramics manufacturer Josiah Wedgwood, who was also a committee member of the Society for the Suppression of the Slave Trade, sent a package of medallions to Benjamin Franklin in 1788 for distribution in the United States. Franklin, a former slave owner turned fervent abolitionist, realized the power of such an image for the anti-slavery movement. He replied to Wedgwood, "I am persuaded it may have an Effect equal to that of the best written Pamphlet, in procuring Favour to those oppressed People."
Medium Ceramic jasperware
Dimensions H-1.25 W-1.125 inches
Dimension Details Oval
Credit line American Philosophical Society
Search Terms 18th century
eighteenth century
Founding Father