Pieces of Freedom: The Emancipation Sculptures of Edmonia Lewis and Meta Warrick Fuller
Lee Ann Timreck
Pieces of Freedom: The Emancipation Sculptures of Edmonia Lewis and Meta Warrick Fuller explores the sculptures of nineteenth-century African American sculptors, Mary Edmonia Lewis (1844-1909) and Meta Warrick Fuller (1877-1968), as important historical artifacts of the Black emancipation experience. Through the Black bodies of the newly emancipated, Lewis and Fuller rendered both an artistic visualization of the Black emancipation experience and a historical counter narrative to the Lost Cause. As fine art, Lewis’s Forever Free and Fuller’s Emancipation statues are permanent images of a people’s strength and agency in the face oppression; as pieces of history, they tell the compelling story of the injustices and sacrifices, as well as accomplishments, made by so many in their pursuit of freedom. Their work also delivers a strong gendered narrative on the contributions and sacrifices made by newly-emancipated Black women, reflective of Lewis’s and Fuller’s own experiences with race and gender discrimination.