Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Slave Children Photo is a Hoax?

In a grand ponzi like scheme members of the press and media nationwide were bilked into telling the tragic story of long forgotten slave children.

The fraud started with a New York collectibles dealer Keya Morgan looking to "cash in" on an attic sale find. Morgan claimed he paid $30,000.00 for a rare photo showing slave children in North Carolina.

The story of that find was propelled to national attention by Nicole Norfeet an Associated Press writer by using words like, haunting, shocking, victim, abused and whipped.

Ms. Norfeet's story quotes fictional "Art historians" and experts claiming that the photo shows a slave known only as John who was sold for $1,150.00.

Morgan continues to sensationalize the photo by saying:

"This kid was abused and mistreated and people forgot about him," Morgan said. "He doesn't even exist in history. And to know that there were a million children who were like him. I've never seen another photo like that that speaks so much for children."

It turns out the photo was actually taken in the late 1870's much like the other photos in Cedar's prior story which is here.

The photo is also not rare as it is part of the New York public library's on line collection which you can see here.

The true value of the photo is around $15.00, at least that is what the photo sold for on eBay.

And according to USA Today photos of black children were very common place in the 1900's. Just as Cedar Post's suggested.

Cedar's Update:

As other bloggers research the photo, more interesting facts come into focus. "Walking the Berkshires" notes that the foliage in the background is clearly banana trees, and yes we have no bananas in the Carolina's

Before it's News takes the CSI level of discovery to a new level of detail, with facts about the photographic processes used during the 1850's vs 1870's and later. While not for those who suffer from ADD it maybe the best scientific proof that the claim of rare and historic is unfounded.

Cedar's Correction:

Above I referred to "fictional "Art Historians" and "Experts".

Will Stapp, is a photographic historian and founding curator of the National Portrait Gallery's photographs department at the Smithsonian Institution.

Harold Holzer, an author of several books about Lincoln. Holzer works as an administrator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ron Soodalter, an author and member of the board of directors at the Abraham Lincoln Institute in Washington, D.C.

Messers Stapp, Holzer and Soodalter are hardly fictional, however in this case their title as experts and art historians and their collective judgement is pure fiction.

Props to Hank Trent for pointing out my major gaffe.

Update December 30, 2010: More than six months after this photo first made its way around the media circus it is springing up again. A recent story regard in Confederate encrypted message has this story on the tag line. See Slave Children Appear in Rare Photo.


JAT said...

Wow. The silence around you new info is deafening.

All I can say is that the image itself did not strike me as obviously pre or circa Civil War. And without access to the supposed supporting documents, I just have to shrug.

Anyone who has spent a minute at a flea market -- let alone an antique shop -- knows that folks can very much believe the wildest tales about items.

But right now, I need some expert to explain to me how a supposedly rare Matthew Brady photo was also in heavy circ as a proto-View Master item.

Anonymous said...

As one might expect, nothing once the truth came out. Slavery was wrong but 150 years later people are still bitching about it.

Wasn't there are MTV Real Life episode were one of the black guys went off the deep end over lynching? He got all worked up over the whole civil war thing saying "you killed my people"... just crazy how some people get all worked up and emotional.

Anonymous said...

With all the bleeding heart bs you really didn't think it was for real did you?

ThaQueenCity said...

Why am I not suprised? Seems like everything these days is an "exterme" lie or rhetoric to "incease" someone's wallet and/or ego!

WOW, that could include about ALL of our current County & City laders...LOL

LilyLonging said...

Did you break this or get if from the USA Today blog? Or is it coincidence?


Looks like the post above was from June 14. And Kate Marcus had it June 12: http://beforeitsnews.com/news/77/667/Rare_Slave_Photo_Not_So_Rare:_Same_Picture_sells_on_ebay.html?loc=interstitialskip

Cedar Posts said...

Lily - Thanks for asking.

When the hoax photo first ran on June 11, 2010 with the "over the top" verbage Cedar Posts called it as such, showing that the photo was quite common for that period.

But I wouldn't claim anyone "broke" the story, as the truth is there wasn't any story. Had the AP writer been a little older and therefore wiser this story would not have been.

I give a Major Fail to AP, Nicole Norfeet, her editor and the Charlotte Observer for running the AP story as local coverage.

And props to Kate Marcus for seeing the same thing I saw when the photo first surfaced.

LilyLonging said...

Thanks Cedar. I'm just wondering if you also found the eBay and NYPL links on your own or if you got them from Kate Marcus.

Anonymous said...

JAT is right some people will believe anything. I thought Cedar was right for calling the Uproar out on the photo and story last week.

I searched the Smithsonian and found many of the same photos.

Good job Cedar we need people like you to stay on the lame ass media!

Anonymous said...

A fantastic article. Thank you for bringing it to another level, including what really needed to be said! Many writers and bloggers have picked up on the story, here are several:
And mine here: http://beforeitsnews.com/stories/by/0000000000004893
I'll post more links as I go through my sources. My June 18 article has some very interesting quotes from the eBay seller.
Great work, thank you.

- Kate Marcus

Anonymous said...


- Kate Marcus