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Patrick Henry Reason Bio

Engraver, lithographer

The dates of Patrick Henry Reason’s birth and death are not really known. His birthdate has been shown around 1817 and death around 1850.

Reason’s parents settled in New York in the early nineteenth century. He attended the African Free School and was apprenticed to a white craftsman. His first public mention was by Charles C. Andrews in 1830 for the frontispiece of The History of the African Free Schools.

He moved to Philadelphia and became a free-lance engraver and lithographer. His work appeared in publications sponsored by abolitionist groups. He was commissioned for a drawing of Granville Sharp, the English abolitionist. He also engraved two portraits of Henry Bibb, an escaped slave and abolitionist lecturer.

Patrick Henry Reason Bio

Reason is best known for his depiction of a chained slave who asks: “Am I not a man and a brother?” It was used as an emblem for the British antislavery movement.