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African-American Musicians

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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While not all residents supported abolition, the Deerfield Anti-Slavery Society was formed in 1838, the date of this painting. In all likelihood, an anti-slavery sympathizer owned the painting. The painting celebrates African American cultural expression. The fiddler and dancer, who appear to be performing for their own pleasure, were copied from two figures depicted in a 1793 print of "the celebrated Equality Ball given to the Negroes of Boston by Massachusetts Governor John Hancock." The man in the background wears a coat popularized by the 1827 minstrel song "Long tail Blue."


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