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Clay portrays the surrounding landscape as clean and inviting. The grounds are free of trash and clutter and the cabins appear as warm and solid structures. He, of course, was well aware of the conditions under which people lived in densely populated urban cities. The tenements, which mainly comprised the immigrant and working class sections of cities such as Boston and New York, were shoddily built. The crowded, garbage filled streets were busy with activity and littered with vagrants and transients. Families of six and eight people were packed into one-bedroom flats that were cold fire traps. It was to those people whom Clay hoped to speak. For they were the people who were toiling fifteen hours a day yet were still cold and hungry.
Clay’s slaves were depicted as the opposite of the reality endured in the cities. The drawing presents the audience with happy slaves dancing on a sunny day. Hale and hearty, they are the embodiment of good nutrition and adequate rest. A healthy, barefooted child sits on the warm earth in a clean and well-fitting dress. The white woman, presumably the slave owners wife, shields her eyes with a parasol; indicating a warm and sunny climate. Again, this is in stark contrast to the all-too-real conditions faced by factory workers in the North. Workers in Chicago’s packing houses or Lowell’s factories endured frigid winters and sparse rations. Their children often faced serious illness due to poor nutrition and lack of medical care. The adults were too exhausted at the end of a work day to engage in dancing and singing. They were alone in the effort to support their families contrary to what Clay wanted one to believe about slaves.