Adalbert John Volck, 14 Apr 1828 - 26 Mar 1912
Henry Ward Beecher, 24 Jun 1813 - 8 Mar 1887
Transfer lithograph on paper
Image: 14.2 × 18.2 cm (5 9/16 × 7 3/16")
Sheet: 24.1 × 30.8 cm (9 1/2 × 12 1/8")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
In this sketch Volck satirizes the lives of "free negroes" in the North. The well-dressed man in the center offers a tract on slavery to a beggar instead of alms, while nearby, a physician bargains with two black men over a dead body, probably to be used for dissection. They stand just outside a "Colored Home," in which scenes of riot and orgy are taking place. Volck, in the most graphic way, raised questions that seemed to ask if free blacks in the North were really better off than slaves in the South.