African-American History

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Although each of the objects found within the image represents some of the struggles that were encountered by African-Americans, everyone that is included within the image helps us understand the perspective of those who dealt with the issue of slavery. The figure on the left is a depiction of an Irish-American who lived in New York during the 1860’s. Although the man lived in New York, he was an immigrant and therefore couldn’t make much money. This fact helps explain why he is depicted as wearing clothes that were commonly associated with the working-class. During this time, there was also a stigma against Irish-Catholics throughout the United States due to the fact that vast amounts of them immigrated to the United States following the…show more content…
Analysts point out the fact that “[t]he ‘Five Points’ was part of the old Sixth Ward of the 19th Century New York (The New Yorker). It was the worst slum area habited by Irish immigrants and, later joined by freed Blacks fleeing the segregated South” (Harpweek). Ultimately, the depiction of the Irishman within the illustration is an amalgamation of all the stereotypes and stigmas that were commonly held against Irish Catholics, especially those in New York.
The figure in the middle can be identified by his initials “NBF” which are located atop his hat. These initials stand for Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was a former infantry General in the Confederate army and was mainly known for the execution of African-American prisoners of war at Fort Pillow. Forrest is also credited as one of the first leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, which is an extremist organization that targets minorities throughout the United States. Forrest was included within the image to represent the powerful influence of the former Confederates in the Democratic party. Although Congress was responsible for passing and subsequently enacting the Thirteenth Amendment, post-war Democrats actively protested any action to grant African-Americans the right to vote. Nast depicts Forrest in his full military uniform which symbolizes his tenure in the Confederate
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