Here we go again:
Why were different shades of color used in American abolitionists publications to describe slaves? I argue depictions and descriptions of “whiteness” were used in conjunction with family images, religious rhetoric, and miscegenation as a strategy to illicit emotional responses in the readers of antislavery publications from 1830 – 1865. I will be using several abolitionist newspapers, slave narratives, and images to track the use of color as a tactic in the antislavery movement and to show the importance of “whiteness” in the fight against slavery.
By examining the various antislavery publications I hope to show some of the earliest examples of whiteness in antislavery publications and show this was a tactic continually adopted by abolitionists. When paired with other tactics, color could enable these publications to potentially reach a much wider audience and connect on an emotional level with their readers. “Whiteness” as a tactic has been somewhat overlooked by abolitionist historians and I hope to add to the discussion of female mobilization within the antislavery movement by examining color and its meanings to those sympathetic to abolitionists.