This original wood engraving entitled, “He Wants a Change Too” deals with the 1876 Hamburg Riots also known as the Hamburg Massacre that took place in South Carolina, a town mostly occupied by freed men (African-American Rights, Self-Defence, White Racism). Published for Harper‘s Weekly (Journal of Civilization), by Harper & Brothers, New York on October 28, 1876. !876 was an election year and October 28th was a few days before the vote. With this image of a frustrated black man preparing for battle while surrounded by murdered men woman and children and intimidating slogans and signs Nast was hoping to steer the vote towards the Republican platform which at this time stood for upholding the rights and the liberties of all American citizens. This is a very strong image with a bold message for 19th century America. This print is a double sheet with the original center fold. There is a repaired tear in the lower area of the image.
Thomas Nast ( 1846- 1902 ) was one of Harper’s Weekly most important illustrators. His political cartoons were extremely influential in the American political arena particularly between the years 1868 to 1886. Following his death in 1902 he was thought by some to be the ” Father of American Caricature. ” He had created the Santa Claus and Uncle Sam images we are still familiar with today, He had devised the Tammy Tiger and popularized the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party and the elephant for the Republican Party. He was known as a political cartoonist with impeccable professional integrity. His images are great historical statements of our political history.