Edmonia Lewis, Sculptor

By Rita Knight-Gray, Host Committee member

Edmonia Lewis. (Image from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, via Wikipedia)
Edmonia Lewis. (Image from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, via Wikipedia)

Edmonia Lewis (circa 1844-1911) was an African/Native American sculptor from New York that studied at Oberlin College, 35 miles from Cleveland. Being not only one of the first women but African American sculptors in the United States proved to be a struggle for Lewis, and she spent most of her career in Rome. Lewis’s acclaimed work includes The Bust of Colonel Robert Shaw of the Colored 54th Regiment, the “politically correct” marble sculpture Being Cleopatra, and many pieces on Native American Life. Lewis’s sculpture Indian Combat can be seen at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Indian Combat by Lewis. (Photo by Rita Knight-Gray)
Indian Combat by Lewis. (Photo by Rita Knight-Gray)
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