The Freedman

John Quincy Adams Ward American
Cast by Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 762

Ward’s depiction of an African American man was inspired by President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, 1862. The broken manacles on the man’s left wrist and in his right hand offer a succinct commentary on the chief political and moral topic of the era, and proclaim the sculptor’s abolitionist sentiments. While emancipated and contemplating his future, the Black male is represented seated and seminude, reinforcing his transitional status between enslavement and full standing in citizenship and manhood.

#4343. The Freedman

The Freedman, John Quincy Adams Ward (American, Urbana, Ohio 1830–1910 New York), Bronze, American

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.