Volck, Adalbert John (1828-1912) Free Negroes in the North
High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.
A high-resolution version of this object is available for registered users. LOG IN
Depicts a scene of urban depravity. Volck is seeking to convey the hypocrisy of the North when it comes to the plight of blacks. The focal point of the sketch is a well-dressed white man who may be Henry Ward Beecher, a leader in the antislavery movement and pastor of a congregation in near Brooklyn, New York. Despite his finery, Beecher does not offer monetary help to the emaciated beggar clothed only in rags: he merely drops a religious "tract" to him with a gloved hand. On the other side of a fence, another white man looks through his purse to pay two grave robbers for a corpse. All of this is taking place on a street corner called "Lovely Lane," outside of an establishment with a sign above the door that reads, "Praise the Lord Bare Bones Colored Mens Home." Inside the building, all manner of debauchery and mayhem seems to be going on. Upstairs men and women are dancing and carousing while other women lean out the windows suggestively. A fight spills out the upstairs balcony. Size in extent is for the mount. The actual size of the etching is 20.4 x 26.6 cm. Title in pencil on verso.
Adalbert John Volck was a dentist, political cartoonist, and a caricaturist who sympathized with the Southern cause. During the Civil War, Volck supported the Confederacy through his satirical political cartoons. He also smuggled drugs and medical supplies for the Confederate army, and served as a personal courier to President Jefferson Davis.
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.