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Charles T. Webber (1825-1911)
United States (Cincinnati)
The Underground Railroad, 1893
Subscription Fund Purchase, 1927.26

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Glossary

Abolitionist — A reformer who favors abolishing slavery

Advocate — A person that defends the cause of another

Antebellum — Term used to describe historical era that preceded the Civil War

Auction — A public sale in which property or items of merchandise are sold to the highest bidder.

Background — the part of a painting representing what lies behind objects in the foreground.

Bounty Hunter — A person or group of individuals who hunt for and capture runaway slaves in order to return them to their owner for financial reward. Also known as a slave catcher.

Brave — A person that faces or endures danger with courage.

Cargo — Name given to escaped slaves when they received assistance from conductors on the Underground Railroad.

Center of Interest — Artistic arrangement of art elements to draw the viewer’s attention to a particular spot in a picture. Some tactics artists use to create a visual emphasis for the most important parts are: putting them in the center foreground of the picture, plus giving them a strong light source and a lot of detail.

Civil War — The war in the United States between the Union and the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865.

Code — A system of signals or symbols used for communication

Collage — an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth, or wood) glued on a surface.

Commentary — something that serves for illustration or explanation

Conductor — Name given to abolitionists who guided escape slaves between safe houses.

Contemporary — To happen, exist, live, or come into being during the current period of time.

Controversy — A discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views.

Courage — A state of mind in which a person is able to face danger and fear with confidence and bravery.

Editorial Cartoon — A drawing representing current public figures or issues symbolically and often satirically, also known as a political cartoon.

Emancipation — The act of freeing someone from slavery.

Emancipation Proclamation — Issued by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862, the proclamation became effective on January 1, 1863. It was a declaration freeing the slaves in those territories still rebelling against the Union.

Equation — The act or process of equating or of being equated.

Era — A period of time characterized by particular circumstances, events, or personages

Escape — To break loose from confinement; get free

Fiction — A literary work whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact.

Foreground — The part of a scene or picture that is nearest to and in front of the viewer.

Free States — States that did not allow slavery.

Freedom — Emancipation of the person from slavery.

Freedom Seeker — A person who has escaped slavery or captivity. Also referred to as a fugitive slave.

Fugitive Slave — A person who has escaped slavery or captivity. Also referred to as a freedom seeker.

Fugitive Slave Law — Legislative acts passed by the United States Congress in 1793 and 1850; intended to facilitate the recapture and extradition of runaway slaves and to commit the federal government to the legitimacy of holding property in slaves.

Jim Crow Laws — A system in the late 19th century of Southern segregation, often called the Jim Crow system. Throughout the Southern states laws were passed that segregated blacks and restricted African American rights in almost every conceivable way.

Landscape — A type of painting that deals with the representation of natural scenery

Line graph Line graph — diagram of lines made by connected data points which represent successive changes in the value of a variable quantity or quantities

Manumission — A written legal document that freed an individual from slavery.

Master — A man in a position of authority who owns slaves

Metaphor — A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison.

Middle Ground — The area between the foreground and background in a painting, drawing, or photograph.

Mistress — A woman in a position of authority who owns slaves, typically the wife of the master.

Mulatto — A term used during slavery that refers to a child of a black person and a white person.

Narrative — A story or first person narrated account

Narrative Art — Art that visually tells a story

Negro — An often offensive term used to refer to an African American person.

Nonfiction — literature that is not fictional and often tells of actual events and people.

Overseer — One who keeps watch over and directs the work of others, especially laborers.

Plantation — A large estate or farm on which crops are raised. In the antebellum south these crops were raised by slaves.

Principles of Art — Eight elements that govern the way the art elements are incorporated within works of art (balance, variety, harmony, emphasis, proportion, movement, rhythm, and unity)

Propaganda — Ideas, information, or rumors spread for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

Quadroon — A person having one-quarter African ancestry. This was a classification used under slavery.

Quaker — A member of the Society of Friends religious domination. Members were often known to oppose slavery and often helped slaves to escape.

Realism — Commitment in art and literature to nature or to real life and to accurate representation without idealization

Reconstruction — The reorganization and reestablishment of the seceded states in the Union after the American Civil War

Reminiscences — A narration of past events, a memoir.

Risk — To expose oneself to hazard or danger

Safe House — A house where escaped slaves could receive help in the form of food, shelter, rest, and transport. Also known as a station.

Scene — The place of an occurrence or action

Slave — A person who is by law the property of another.

Slave Catcher — A person or group of individuals who hunt for and capture runaway slaves in order to return them to their owner for financial reward. Also known as a bounty hunter.

Slave State — State that allowed slavery

Slavery — The state or condition of a slave; an institution that enables human bondage

Slope — The tangent of the angle of inclination of a line, or the slope of the tangent line for a curve or surface

Spiritual — religious song usually of a deeply emotional character that was developed especially among blacks in the southern U.S.

Station — A house where escaped slave could receive help in the form of food, shelter, rest and transport. Also known as a safe house.

Underground Railroad — A secret cooperative network that aided fugitive slaves in reaching place of safety in the free states or in Canada in the years before the abolition of slavery in the United States. A secret cooperative network that aided fugitive slaves in reaching place of safety in the free states or in Canada in the years before the abolition of slavery in the United States. A secret cooperative network that aided fugitive slaves in reaching place of safety in the free states or in Canada in the years before the abolition of slavery in the United States.

Validity — Supported by objective truth or generally accepted authority

Variable — Likely to change or vary; subject to variation; changeable

Additional Resources Glossary The Cincinnati Wing About Discovering the Story Educators Videoconference Underground Railroad Cincinnati's Golden Age


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