Preserving a Portrait of Freedom

My cousin Betty was kind enough to entrust this original crayon drawing of my great-great-great grandfather Exum White with me. It originally hung in the home of my great-great grandmother Martha White Richards.
Photo of Exum White and his brothers which served as the basis for the enlarged portrait. I estimate that the photo was taken between 1900 and 1909. The portrait was drawn in 1919. Source: Jones Family photo
1908 Annual Communication of the Prince Hall Freemasons of Virginia, the last which lists Exum White as a member. Source: James Morgan III
Here I am examining the portrait in the studio of a paper conservationist whom I hired to preserve it.
Here is the framed replica of Exum White’s portrait which now hangs in my home.
FREEDOM PAPERS for Exum White which read as follows. “Nansemond County to wit: I, Peter B. Prentis, Clerk of the County Court of Nansemond, do hereby certify that at a Court held for the said County, the 10th day of October 1859, Exum White, a free negro of brown complexion, twenty-nine years of age, five feet ten and a half inches high, who has a scar on the first joint of the middle finger of the right hand, one on the outside of the right thigh, and a burn on the back of the right hand, and who was BORN FREE in this county, was ordered to be registered by the clerk anew…” Source: The Thweatt Family
1860 Suffolk, Nansemond County, VA US Census Record for Exum and Adaline White, newborn Olivia and Mary Faulk, possibly a family member.
Here’s the 1867 “Colored Poll List” for Nansemond County, Virginia which recorded the vote of my third great grandfather Exum White. Source:
1871 US Southern Claims Commission filing which features Exum Whites signature.
Here is a photo of Martha White Richards, my great-great grandmother and daughter of Exum White. His portrait originally hung in her home on Milner St. in Suffolk, VA. Source: Richards Family Photo.



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Andre Kearns

Andre Kearns

Blogging on Race, Culture, History and Genealogy.