TNC posts the above picture of emancipated slaves and prints an accompanying letter that includes passages such as this:
Rebecca Huger is eleven years old, and was a slave in her father's house, the special attendant of a girl a little older than herself. To all appearance she is perfectly white. Her complexion, hair, and features show not the slightest trace of negro blood.
Wilson Chinn is about 60 years old, he was "raised" by Isaac Howard of Woodford County, Kentucky. When 21 years old he was taken down the river and sold to Volsey B. Marmillion, a sugar planter about 45 miles above New Orleans. This man was accustomed to brand his negroes, and Wilson has on his forehead the letters "V. B. M." Of the 210 slaves on this plantation 105 left at one time and came into the Union camp. Thirty of them had been branded like cattle with a hot iron, four of them on the forehead, and the others on the breast or arm.
There is a spirited debate in the comments. From TNC's replies:
I thought the point was--"this could be you."...This is one of the saddest thing to me about the whole ordeal. You're really talking about feuding cousins--almost literally. We think of this some kind of collision between Africans and the West, and it is that, but not in the way we think it is.
Whenever I travel down South, it's instantly apparent to me. The whites and the black there--even where my folks are from on the Eastern Shore of Maryland--feel like cousins. Even as a New Yorker, I can feel it when I'm talking to white people there.