Hanging a Slave, South Carolina, 1850s

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Image Reference

Richard Hildreth, Archy Moore, the white slave; or, Memoirs of a Fugitive (New York, 1857), p. 197.

Captioned, "A Freeholder's Court," shows a slave being hung; white and black onlookers. The author of this anti-slavery novel describes a scene wherein a court was trying to decide which slave was guilty of theft from a rice plantation; the judges, drunk on whiskey, decided on a particular man, and despite his protestations and the lack of evidence against him, he was judged guilty and sentenced to be hung. Immediately thereafter, "an empty barrel was brought out, and placed under a tree . . . . The poor fellow was mounted upon it; the halter was put about his neck, and fastened to a limb over his head. The judges had already become so drunk as to have lost all sense of judicial decorum. One of them kicked away the barrel..." (pp. 196-197). First published as "The Slave: or, Memoirs of Archy Moore (Boston, 1836), but without illustrations; the London edition (1852) contains different illustrations (see copies located in the Library Company of Philadelphia).