Liberty Displaying

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Liberty Displaying the Arts and Sciences is an American made piece that addresses slavery, freedom of America from Britain, and education. Samuel Jennings, “commissioned by the abolitionist leaders of the Library Company of Philadelphia, provided a metaphorical argument for how arts and science could uplift and civilize newly freed Africa Americans” ( ). In his illustration, we see the representation of Lady Liberty (dawned in who white dress with her staff and freedom cap) surrounded fine art, literature, a globe, and works of mathematics. Directly in front of her, one can see four African Americans that seem to be submitting to her. In the distance we see a larger group of African Americans dancing to musicians. Those in the distance seem…show more content…
The directors of the Library wrote to Jennings stating that they preferred, “Liberty (with her Cap and proper Insignia) displaying the arts by some of the most striking Symbols of Painting, Architecture, Mechanics, Astronomy, etc. whilst She appears in the attitude of placing on the top of a Pedestal, a pile of Books, lettered with Agriculture, Commerce, Philosophy & Catalogue of Philadelphia Library” ( ). While he did fulfill the demands of his commissioners, he was also able to incorporate the concept of slavery and freedom into his illustration as well. Yes, Jennings depicts everything that the commissioners requested, but if did it in an odd manner; everything seems to be disheveled and thrown on the floor. Upon closer investigation of the disheveled room, one can see that there are broken chains at the feet of Liberty where she sits; this represents the breaking of the ties that America had with Britain. I believe that the room was American (the land) while it was being occupied by Britain, as if they had no regards for knowledge. The chaos left over in the room was a result of how Britain treated both the land and people of America. After breaking their ties to Britain, America is left with “cleaning up the
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