Abolitionists: The Image of the Bloodhound

Researching articles for my thesis I came across John Campbell’s “The Seminoles, the “Bloodhound War,” and Abolitionism, 1796-1865.”[1] In this, Campbell points out the imagery of the Bloodhound in relation to images used by abolitionists such as the rape of black women, the brutality against slaves and the separation of families. The Bloodhound represent such a stirring image, as Campbell examines, because it displays violence within slavery and also the slaves’ desire and subsequent denial of freedom.

 As the article points out, it is a really dehumanizing image.

Looking at these, I am automatically reminded of one of the classic dogs hunting foxes pieces that are littered in barber shops, hotels and doctors offices across the country. Slaves are portrayed as subhuman, an animal, subject to the great chase of the hounds.

I acknowledge that there is some bias here. Abolitionists used these images to aggressively promote their viewpoint. But there is certainly an amount of truth in these images. Dogs were used, and they were used specifically for these purposes.

I am utterly amazed that little research has been done on this topic, as the article points out. This is a dissertation waiting to happen.

[1] “The Seminoles, the “Bloodhound War,’ and Abolitionism, 1976-1865”, Journal of Southern History, Vol. 72, No. 2, (May, 2006), pp. 259-302.


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