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Am I Not a Man and a Brother?, 1837

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Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Am I Not a Man and a Brother?, 1837


The image of an enslaved male asking “Am I not a Man and a Brother?” first appeared in the 1780s in England. This broadside poster from 1837 includes a poem by John Greenleaf Whitter called “Our Countrymen in Chains.” Abolitionists used strategies like broadsides to bring attention to the immorality of enslavement.

Transcript of "Am I Not a Man and a Brother?," 1837

Source-Dependent Questions

  • How do the image and the words of the poet show the immorality of enslavement?
  • What do you think the creators of the image want viewers to feel? How would such emotions help further the cause of abolition?
  • The practice of enslaving people in the United States lasted until 1865. This broadside poster was created in 1837. Why do you think abolitionists worked for so long to achieve their goal?
  • Based on the image, create a poem supporting the abolitionist cause.

Citation Information

American Anti-Slavery Society, and Anti-Slavery Office. Am I not a man and a brother?. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress.