Uncle Tom And His Grandchild

November 3, 1866, page 689

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The scene represented in the engraving on our first page was one upon which our artist, Mr. Waud, looked a few months since while on the road from Columbus to Macon. It is by the road-side, on the outskirts of a Georgia plantation. A little child, almost white, and very beautiful, is teaching her grandfather -- a pure negro -- to read. The little girl is just from school, as appears from the satchel hanging on the chair. We did not know or ask the names of either the old man or the child; but from an affection for "Uncle Tom" and its gifted authoress we have adopted the title subjoined to our engraving.  The picture, as we saw it, seemed to tell at the same time a very sad and a very hopeful story. The contrast of color, almost violent in those so near of kin, told the history of a great wrong. This little girl, with far more of "Southern chivalry" in her veins than of negro blood, was, or had been for all that, a slave -- a thing to be bought and sold, to be insolently loved or insolently hated; to whose children she must become a curse, as they would be a curse to her. But this sad fate had in her case been averted. She was now free; and her present occupation spoke of a new era for the negro race. So that, on the whole, the picture was a hopeful one.  In it seemed to us to be concentrated the great moral of our civil war.

Notice how the text indicates that the girl’s lighter skin color—closer to that of white slaveowners than to her dark-skinned grandfather—makes her previous enslavement all the more horrible to the author.


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