African Americans in the Arts: Edmonia Lewis
The first professional African-American and Native-American sculptor, Edmonia Lewis earned critical praise for work that explored religious and classical themes. Edmonia Lewis was born in 1844 in Greenbush, New York. Her first notable commercial success was a bust of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. The money she earned selling copies of the bust allowed her to sail to Rome, Italy, where she mastered working in marble. She quickly achieved success as a sculptor. The circumstances of her death in 1907 are unclear.