Who when named executor of the Custis estate, decided to break the plantation tradition of not selling families apart from each other and within 5 short years had sold apart every family but one.

For white Southerners and enslaved black people, the sight of a back like Peter’s was chillingly commonplace. “They used the whip as a tool to enforce this vision of society. All Rights Reserved. One was Robert E Lee. And when he joined the Union Army after his escape from slavery, Peter exposed his scars during a medical examination. Three illustrations showing Peter after his escape, the welts from being whipped upon his back, and in uniform after he had joined the Union Army, featured in McPherson and Oliver in July, 1863. But Peter’s strafed back was perhaps the most visible—and significant—photograph of a former slave. During Peter's enslavement on John and Bridget Lyons’ Louisiana plantation, Peter endured not just the indignity of slavery, but a brutal whipping that nearly took his life. But his ten-day ordeal was nothing compared to what he had already been through.

READ MORE: The Last Slave Ship Survivor Gave an Interview in the 1930s. Peter and three other enslaved people escaped by cover of night, but one of their companions was murdered by slave hunters who came in pursuit of Lyons’ property. “Suiting the action to the word, he pulled down the pile of dirty rags that half concealed his back,” said a witness. Raised welts and strafe marks crisscrossed his back. The marks extended from his buttocks to his shoulders, calling to mind the viciousness and power with which he had been beaten. It remains one of the era’s best known—and most appalling—images. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! The white soldiers who inspected Peter were horrified by his wounds. It was a hideous constellation of scars: visual proof of the brutality of slavery. But though Peter’s experience was shared by thousands of enslaved people, it was foreign to many Northerners who had never witnessed slavery and its brutality with their own eyes.

Each of the U.S. slave states was about the same in terms of how they treated slaves. Despite the racism of the day, though, Peter’s portrait did galvanize even those who had never spoken out against slavery.

Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. The disturbing snaps resurfaced today, on the 153rd anniversary of the 13th amendmen… The spread also stoked confusion when Peter’s name was listed instead as “Gordon.”. “All the logic of the blind and infatuated believers in Human Slavery cannot arrest or thwart the progress of truth, any more than they can prevent the development of the positive picture, when aided by the silent and powerful process of chemical action,” he wrote. The small cards were cheap to produce and became wildly popular during the Civil War, providing a near-instant look at the war, and its players, as it unfolded. When he reached the soldiers, Peter’s clothing was ragged and soaked with mud and sweat. Brutal Whipping. An unnamed Union Army soldier who had taken the photographs shot back with a long account that upheld the veracity of the photograph.

John Cummings, a New Orleans lawyer and preservationist, has spent 16 years and nearly $8 million of his own money creating Whitney Plantation, which … But Peter had already determined to escape.

“What began as a very local — even private — image ultimately achieved something much grander because it circulated so widely,” historian Bruce Laurie told the Boston Globe. He had been pursued for miles, had run barefoot through creeks and across fields. The surviving escapees rubbed onions on their bodies to escape the bloodhounds the slave catchers used to pursue them. They immediately enlisted. It was sold by abolitionists who used it to raise money for their cause, and gained the name “The Scourged Back” or “Whipped Peter.” When it was published in Harper’s Weekly, the most popular periodical of its day, it reached a massive audience. Though slavery had been abolished, he—and the others who had been subjugated, beaten and demeaned during hundreds of years of slavery in the Americas—still bore the scars of enslavement. Peter’s photo quickly spread across the nation. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC.

It Just Surfaced. After the whipping, he was told he had become “sort of crazy” and had threatened his wife.

“It sent a thrill of horror to every white person present, but the few Blacks who were waiting…paid but little attention to the sad spectacle, such terrible scenes being painfully familiar to them all.”. It Just Surfaced. How Many Presidents Owned Enslaved People. As soon as the carte de visite was introduced in 1854, the technology became popular in abolitionist circles. Slaves were whipped daily; it must not necessarily be when they have committed a serious offence, …

The whippings and beatings were usually so horrific and as bad as you could ever imagine.

HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. Peter's disfigured back helped bring the stakes of the Civil War to life, contradicting Southerners’ insistence that their slaveholding was a matter of economic survival, not racism. READ MORE: How Sally Hemings and Other Enslaved People Secured Precious Pockets of Freedom.

A photograph of Peter’s back became one of the most widely circulated images of slavery of its time, galvanizing public opinion and serving as a wordless indictment of the institution of slavery. The photo was also decried as fake by the Copperheads, a nickname for a faction of Northerners who opposed the war and was loudly sympathetic of the South and of slave ownership. Others who had escaped from slavery, like Frederick Douglass, posed for popular portraits. And it showed just how important mass media was during the war that nearly destroyed the United States. An escaped slave named Peter showing his scarred back at a medical examination in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1863.

It’s unclear what Peter did during the rest of the war, or what his life was like after the Civil War came to an end. Marsh. For white Northerners, though, Peter’s scourged body made slavery's brutality impossible to deny.

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