A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

The Lord's Doing


Abolitionists understand the power of pictorial representations in drawing support for the cause of emancipation. White and black women become more active in the 1830s as lecturers, petitioners, and meeting organizers, and variations of this female figure, appealing for interracial sisterhood, appear in papers, broadsides, and handicraft goods sold at fund-raising fairs.


Selection from the Massachusetts Historical Society This is the Lord's Doing:, Cotton banner, [1840s].
Selection from the Library of Congress: The Negro Woman's Appeal to Her White Sisters, [London]: Richard Barrett, [1850].

Questions to Consider


  1. How would you describe the image of the emancipated slave on the banner?
  2. What is the "crime" of the slave on the broadside?


  1. How might the Emancipation of slaves in the West Indies affect the debate about slavery in the United States?
  2. What social, political, or economic barriers do white and black women have to confront according to The Negro Woman's Appeal?


  1. Why is Emancipation presented as the "Lord's Doing" on the banner and not as the achievement of people who work for abolition?
  2. What mode or tone is evoked by the image on the broadside? In what ways can an image be more successful than text in conveying an idea?


  1. Why and how might Garrison use this banner at rallies? What message does it send that his other banners do not?
  2. What is the benefit in appealing to white women who cannot vote? How does the broadside text specifically refer to the idea of "sisterhood"? What common bonds are depicted?


  1. Compare the image of a slave on the "Lord's Doing" banner with the image in the "Negro Woman's Appeal" broadside. What are the similarities and differences?