Double Negative

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double negative-01.png

Double Negative

from 300.00

Double Negative

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William “April” Ellison was a freed black slave who later became South Carolina’s largest slave owner and trader.

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Born as April Ellison in the late 1790’s, young Ellison worked for owner William McCreight as a gin apprentice in Winnsboro, South Carolina.

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By the time he married at age 21, Ellison had learned the trades of blacksmithing, machining, and carpentry.

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From 1830-1865 he and his sons were the only free blacks in Sumter County, South Carolina to own slaves.

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The county was largely devoted to cotton plantations and the majority population were slaves.

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Ellison and his sons were among a number of successful free people of color in the antebellum years, but Ellison was particularly outstanding.

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His master (and likely father) had passed on social capital by apprenticing him to learn a valuable artisan trade as a cotton gin maker, at which Ellison made a success.

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After buying his own freedom when he was 26, a few years later Ellison purchased his wife and their children, to protect them from sales as slaves.

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The Act of 1820 made it more difficult for slaveholders to make personal manumissions, but Ellison gained freedom for his sons, and a quasi-freedom for his surviving daughter.

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During the American Civil War, Ellison and his sons supported the Confederate States of America and gave the government substantial donations and aid. A grandson fought informally with the regular Confederate Army and survived the war.

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#February 

 

 

 

 

Print Sizes

(S): 8.5x11 in
(M) 24x36 in
(L) 30x40 in
(XL) 60x40 in

Printed on High Quality Archival Metallic Paper

Hand signed and numbered.

Ships within 14 days of purchase 

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