American photography's role in shaping nineteenth-century attitudes around slavery has been explored in a range of academic disciplines, including art history, American studies, African American studies, women's and gender studies, and literary studies. The photograph has been studied as a valuable discursive object from which we can glean information about how enslaved black people were viewed by the state, violated at the hands of slave-owning families, and mobilized for consensus purposes by Northern abolitionists prior to the Civil War. Ex-slaves such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman realized the political stakes of image-making in the production, circulation, and formation of more liberating portraits of black identity. Provided that nineteenth-century...

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