Portrait of Mathilda (or Josephine) Beasley

This source is particularly interesting, because it demonstrates the complications of archival research. This image, originally believed to be a portrait of Matilda Beasley, manager of the Sacred Heart Orphanage. Beasley was born enslaved, became free, and moved to Savannah, where she became a teacher to enslaved children, got married to a free black man, and led a devoutly Catholic life. Beasley is extremely famous in Savannah history, yet the woman in the picture is most likely of Josephine Beasley, wife of Abram Beasley who was a child of Mathilda’s husband. Based on the style of clothing and hair the image is thought to be circa 1890, when Matilda would have been 71 years old. 

Photograph of either Mathilda or Josephine Beasley
Mathilda Beasley or Josephine Beasley. From the Georgia Historical Society Collection of Photographs, 1870-1960 – Print, Photographic

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