Look closely at this image held in the US Library of Congress – it is entitled Justice versus Prejudice. It comes from a book published in 1903.

The illustration shows President Theodore Roosevelt, standing with his hand on the shoulder of an African-American man. In the President’s left hand is a paper labelled "15th Amendment"; behind them is a statue labelled "Lincoln - With Malice Toward None With Charity Toward all" showing President Abraham Lincoln standing at the top with freed African-American slaves.

The caption reads:
President Roosevelt – Lincoln emancipated you, the people gave you citizenship and I’ll protect your rights.


  • From what you know about America in the early twentieth century, how reliable is this primary source in representing life for African-Americans at this time? What do you think might have been the purpose of this image?
  • Find out more about the 15th Amendment here.
  • Why do you think the promise of the 15th Amendment did not become a reality for African-Americans for almost one hundred years?