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Peter

Peter
Artist
Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Copy after
William D. McPherson
Mr. Oliver
Sitter
Peter
Formerly identified as
Gordon
Date
1863
Type
Photograph
Medium
Albumen silver print
Dimensions
Image/Sheet: 8.6 x 5.5 cm (3 3/8 x 2 3/16")
Mount: 10.1 x 6.1 cm (4 x 2 3/8")
Mat: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14")
Frame: 46.5 x 36.4 x 3.2 cm (18 5/16 x 14 5/16 x 1 1/4")
Topic
Photographic format\Carte-de-visite
Interior\Studio\Photography
Peter: Male
Peter: Society and Social Change\Enslaved person
Gordon: Male
Portrait
Place
United States\Louisiana\East Baton Rouge\Baton Rouge
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.2002.89
Exhibition Label
Birthplace unknown
In late March 1863, an enslaved man identified in contemporary accounts as “Peter” made a bold bid for freedom. Escaping from the cotton plantation of Captain John Lyons on Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River, Peter and several others, including a fugitive named Gordon, traveled through treacherous swamps and bayous. Slave hunters pursued them relentlessly until they reached the Union army encampment at Baton Rouge. Interviewed by camp officials, Peter reported that the horrific scars covering his back were the result of a whipping administered two months before Christmas by Artayou Carrier, the Lyons plantation’s overseer.
When photographs documenting Peter’s condition reached the public, they created shockwaves. Widely copied and distributed, pictures such as this example quickly became among the most powerful evidence of slavery’s brutality. Although the first of these photographs to circulate identified their subject as Peter, the name “Gordon” gained currency after a Harper’s Weekly article misidentified him.
Lugar de nacimiento desconocido
A fines de marzo de 1863, un esclavo identificado en relatos contemporáneos como “Peter” intentó una arriesgada fuga de la plantación de algodón del capitán John Lyons, a orillas del río Atchafalaya de Luisiana. Peter y varios otros, entre ellos un hombre llamado Gordon, atravesaron peligrosos pantanos. Los cazadores de esclavos los persiguieron sin tregua hasta el campamento de la Unión en Baton Rouge. Entrevistado allí por los oficiales, Peter dijo que las horribles cicatrices que le cubrían la espalda eran de azotes recibidos dos meses antes de Navidad a manos de Artayou Carrier, capataz de la plantación de Lyons.
Cuando las fotografías que mostraban la condición de Peter se hicieron públicas, crearon conmoción. Copiadas y distribuidas ampliamente, imágenes como esta se convirtieron en la prueba más fehaciente de la crueldad de la esclavitud.
Aunque la primera foto que se divulgó identificaba al sujeto como Peter, se le llamó “Gordon” con frecuencia después de que Harper’s Weekly lo identificara erróneamente.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition
2022 Rehang of Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900
On View
NPG, East Gallery 111
Exhibition
Civil War Gallery Rehang
On View
NPG, East Gallery 111