Peter Williams, ca. 1810-15

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Image Reference

Painting held by New York Historical Society (neg. x. 173)

Oil painting by an unidentified artist. Born enslaved, Peter Williams became a tobacco merchant and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in New York. For details on his life, see R.W. Logan and M.R. Winston, Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York, 1982). See also Hugh Honour, The Image of the Black in Western Art (Menil Foundation, Harvard University Press, 1989), vol. 4, pt. 1, p. 323n305, for possible identification of painter. (Slide of painting, courtesy of New York Historical Society)