After abolition

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Do you know what these objects are, and what the connection was between them?

Click on the images below to find out more

Cotton is King stereoscope card, 1895, Bolton Museum and Archive Service

See this object at Bolton Museum and Archive Service

This item may not always be on display, please check with the venue before visiting

This stereoscope card shows cotton pickers descended from enslaved Africans. The card is titled: Cotton is King, Plantation Scene, Georgia, U.S.A.

The American Civil War of 1861-1865 led to the end of slavery in the USA. However, this picture was published in 1895, well after the Civil War had ended, and shows that many people were still working in conditions that were little different to slavery. African Americans still had the lowest paid and hardest jobs.
After the American Civil War there were a number of laws known as ‘black codes’ or the ‘Jim Crow Laws’ that discriminated against former enslaved African Americans and still limited their freedom.

The laws were slightly different from state to state, but they all restricted the ability of African Americans to own property. They also included vagrancy laws under which black people could be forced to work for white people if they were considered unemployed.

This inequality led to the American civil rights movement and the fight for equal legal rights took more than another 100 years. There were a number of very influential people associated with the American civil rights movement including Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Paul Robeson.

Barack Obama, an African-American, became the 44th president of the USA in 2009. For many Americans this was a sign that the civil rights movement had finally succeeded and racial equality had been achieved even if racism still continues.


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An interactive video drama on slavery and abolition

This Accursed Thing

James Watkins