Item Details

[Carte-de-visite] Cabinet photograph of Millie-Christine McCoy [McKoy], African American conjoined twins.

Los Angeles, CA: Michael A. Wesner, c.1890s [1896]. Millie-Christine McCoy, African American conjoined twins, were born in Welches Creek Township near Whiteville, the daughters of Jacob and Monemia, slaves of Jabez McKay, a local blacksmith. Born enslaved in 1851, they were "exhibited" as young children at museums and sideshows. Considered physical oddities and featured as circus and side show attractions throughout the United States and Europe beginning in the pre-Civil War era, the sisters displayed a great talent for singing and performing. Millie and Christine published a memoir in the 1800s that detailed their life, travels and experiences. For much of their childhood, Millie and Christine were subjected to contested ownership, leaving the twins separated from their parents and seven older siblings. Because of their physical state, they were often forced to undergo frequent medical examinations. Despite this, the twins were recognized international performers, educated, and celebrated. The image of the women exposes the larger contexts of the nineteenth-century "freak show," the pathologization of black female sexuality, and the complex dynamics of American enslavement and emancipation. Understanding the McCoys reveals imperatives of agency and triumphs of subjectivity largely overlooked or misunderstood by historians to date and how African Americans create history, not just represented by slave narratives. --- Museum of African American History Center. Original, early to mid-1890s era cabinet photo of conjoined twins Millie and Christine McCoy. Photography most likely taken while they were on tour in California, by photographer Michael A. Wesner of Los Angeles. Very Good. Backing card chipped at lower left, crease upper right, otherwise bright, and clean. Penciled on verso of "Millie-Christine." 17x11cm, sepia. Item #10961

Price: $275.00

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