The figure of a Black man - or woman - kneeling and in chains
became the key image for abolitionist and anti-slavery campaigns
both in Britain and America. As well as appearing on pamphlets and
books, these images were incorporated into cameos, bracelets, brooches,
snuff boxes and even hair pins.
This particular version of the figure of a female slave is taken
from a banner used in the campaign in the 1830s against the apprenticeship
system. Slaves within the British empire were ‘apprenticed’
into unpaid work for a number of years after their emancipation
came into force in 1834. As the banner proclaimed, apprenticeship
had ‘proved to be but another name for slavery’.
Although such images helped focus attention on the evils of the
slave trade (as intended), it can be argued that their design reflected
and perpetuated the notion of White 'superiority' over the ‘grateful’
Anti-Slavery International (c. 1836-8)