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The Cover
February 18, 2009

Mayan Ruins, Yucatan

JAMA. 2009;301(7):702. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.5

Landscape artist Robert Scott Duncanson (1821-1872) lived most of his life a stone's throw from where slavery was cultivated along with tobacco and cotton. Ohio embraced antislavery movements: in Cincinnati, across the Ohio River from northern Kentucky, Duncanson lived the life of a “freeman of color.” His paintings, often commissioned by abolitionist patrons, were appreciated by the conventional wealthy art audience of the mid 1800s. Further examination of his works reveals hidden symbolism; Duncanson's own struggle for freedom and equality as an artist then becomes apparent. His struggle was not in vain, however, because he later became the first internationally recognized African American artist.

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