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.
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.
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.