Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

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"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?"

This medallion was created by Josiah Wedgwood, a British ceramics maker and abolitionist, around 1787. The image of the kneeling slave in chains asking "Am I Not a Man and a Brother?" became an international symbol of the abolitionist movement. The image was widely reproduced during the late eighteenth century, appearing on crockery, snuffboxes, and jewelry, becoming a fashionable accessory among English abolitionists. Benjamin Franklin, who received a set of the medallions while serving as president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, wrote of the image's effectiveness that it was "equal to that of the best written Pamphlet, in procuring favour to those oppressed People."

Source | William Hackwood, Medallion, after 1786, tinted stoneware, 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. (3.2 x 3.2 cm), Brooklyn Museum,
Creator | Josiah Wedgwood
Rights | Used by permission of the Brooklyn Museum.
Item Type | Artifact
Cite This document | Josiah Wedgwood, “"Am I Not a Man and a Brother?",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 23, 2023,

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