Tags: robert e lee | slave | photos | selina gray | ebay

Robert E. Lee's 1860s Slave Photos Resurface on eBay (Video)

Image: Robert E. Lee's 1860s Slave Photos Resurface on eBay (Video)
National Park Service Spokeswoman Jennifer Mummart holds the photo of Selina Gray at the site where was taken, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By    |   Monday, 13 Oct 2014 09:40 AM

Priceless photos of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's slaves, including head housekeeper Selina Gray, were found on eBay last month among a box of unwanted vintage photos.

According to ABC affiliate WJLA, the photo strip was spotted by National Park Service volunteer Dean DeRosa. He immediately recognized Gray, whose identity is confirmed by an inscription on the back of the photo that reads, "Gen Lees Slaves Arlington Va." Soon, the nonprofit Save Historic Arlington House donated funds to acquire the image, which sold for $700.

The photo was subsequently donated to the National Park Service, which operates the Arlington House at the Robert E. Lee Memorial at the top of the hill of Arlington National Cemetery. It went on display to the public on Saturday.

"It's extremely rare to have an identified photo of an enslaved person," National Park Service spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles told The Associated Press. "Since slaves were considered property, it's very rare to have a photo where you can identify the people in the photo."

As the head housekeeper of Lee's estate, Gray was no ordinary slave. Historians celebrate her, as she is credited with fending off looting Union soldiers after Lee and his wife, Mary Custis Lee — the great granddaughter of Martha and George Washington — fled the advancing armies during the Civil War.

"Not only was [Gray] a slave who they allowed to get married, which was illegal at the time, they also let her get married in their home in the parlor where they got married," said Anzelmo-Salres. "Selina was an incredibly courageous woman. She stood up to Union generals to say 'save this place.'"

The picture is believed to have been taken in front of the home's slave quarters sometime in the 1860s.

"What I find so fascinating is how well dressed Selina and her daughters are in this photo," said DeRosa, an avid collector of vintage photography.



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Priceless photos of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's slaves, including head housekeeper Selina Gray, were found on eBay last month among a box of unwanted vintage photos.
robert e lee, slave, photos, selina gray, ebay
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2014-40-13
Monday, 13 Oct 2014 09:40 AM
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