"Am I Not a Man and a Brother" & "Am I not a Woman & a Sister" - Pair of 19th Century Anti-Slavery Tokens
Rare pair of Anti-Slavery tokens produced for the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, established by Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson in 1787. The first shows the society's emblem of a chained African man, naked and kneeling, "Am I not a Man and a Brother" around the perimeter on obverse, "May Slavery & Oppression Cease Throughout the World" around the perimeter and clasped hands (in print formats generally one is black and one, white) in the center on reverse. The other example shows a kneeling woman and "Am I not a Woman & a Sister" 1838" on obverse, "United States of America" (with backwards "N"), olive wreath with "Liberty / 183" in center on reverse. These were commissioned by the American Anti-Slavery society to evoke pity for enslaved women as well as to foster equal rights for women. Bronze. Diam. 1 5/16 inches (30 mm). First somewhat worn and the "Sister" is slightly worn on recto (just a few high points) and the date below "Liberty" on the verso; the "Brother" with a loss on the recto. Not formally "graded" but overall very good.
Josiah Wedgewood (1730-1795), a dedicated abolitionist and close friend of Thomas Clarkson designed the "logo" of the kneeling captive for the Society for the Abolition of Slavery in 1787. This was taken up by the American abolitionists, and in 1835 Patrick Reason, a young black engraver created a version of a kneeling woman that bore the caption "Am I not a Woman and a Sister?" This image, together with that of the infamous slave ship's hold, are without question the most iconic of the anti-slavery movement on both sides of the Atlantic.
EphemeraHistory & Historiography