Allusion To The Freeman Figure By John Quincy Adams Ward

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The Freedman sculpture by John Quincy Adams is a very effective piece for alluding to African Americans status during its era. In 1863, John Quincy Adams Ward is considered to be the first sculptor that accurately represented African Americans in his work. The Freedman was shown to the public after Abraham Lincoln gave the Emancipation Proclamation speech which had gone into effect at the beginning of that year. The sculpture showed the new found freedom of African Americans. The statue is made of bronze and is of a black man, with a shackle on one wrist in a sitting position that indicates the motion of rising. The piece is intended to speak to art critics who recognize the allusion to the classical Greco-Roman sculptures. Since the Greco-Roman tradition is held in high regard, Ward asserts that the black man has taken an elevated position in American society worthy of respect.

Of course, the Freedman by John Quincy Adams Ward does an accurate job of alluding back to the Greco-Roman slaves. And it is true that the boxer sculpture did help empower the image of African Americans. After all, the Boxer sculpture is America’s first accurate representation of an African American. However, The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro by Frederick Douglass is more effective in using allusion than The Freedman. Although many may agree that an allusion to an ancient Roman sculpture is more effective than alluding to the Bible because Southerners justified slavery with a religious text,
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