The History of Prince Whipple

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Prince Whipple
Prince Whipple

Who is that guy?

The only guy whose face you cannot see in this famous painting may have had one of the more interesting lives.

While there is no proof, and many historians argue that it couldn’t be this person, a lot of people believe that this was Prince Whipple.

Washington Crossing the Delaware, by German painter Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, is one of the more notable pieces of art reflective of American History. This painting, painted in 1851, was completed before fame and notoriety was brought to Prince Whipple. This reason alone is why many doubt this is him.

Prince Whipple was a slave brought to America and sold to General William Whipple, Jr. As well as a slave, he was also General Whipple’s bodyguard. General Whipple, a member of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, emancipated Prince on his wedding day, February 22, 1781.

What I find most interesting about Prince Whipple is his background. Prince was not a poor African sold into slavery by another tribe or one kidnapped from his home and forced into slavery; Whipple came from money. Prince’s family, from Anomabu (present day Ghana), was a family of means. So much so that they wanted to send their ten-year-old son to America to receive the best education possible. However, once on the boat, the trip was not smooth sailing. The captain of the ship bringing Prince and his cousin to America took the two boys and sold them into slavery.

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