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Workman
Workman

This image depicts an African-American at work in an iron foundry. Although few blacks lived in antebellum Illinois, they made up an important part of the free labor force in many eastern cities. By the time of the Civil War, a number of southern industrialists had also put slaves to work in foundries and factories. This gave the lie to the notion that slavery would naturally die out in regions unsuited by climate to plantation agriculture.

Image source: Public domain
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project