Slave-Era Photo Found

Rare Photo of Slave Children
Rare Photo of Slave Children: John and an Unidentified Young Boy

Today’s news includes the report of the discovery — at an estate sale in Charlotte, North Carolina — of a slave-era photo of two young boys, one identified as “John,” and another unidentified, photographed by the Mathew Brady studio, probably by Brady’s assistant Timothy O’Sullivan.

It’s a stunning photograph. One can see the toll slavery has taken on these children. As it was less affecting at the time than the photographs of whipped and abused slaves, it is nonetheless an amazing testament to the evil legacy of the founding fathers who built the racial violence and subjection of black slavery.

As a genealogist, I cannot help but wonder whether these children had descendants, and whether these descendants are searching for them. Along with the photograph, a bill of sale for John for $1,150 in 1854.

What happened to the two young boys after slavery times? Where did their family live and go? How did their fortunes fare?