Edmonia Lewis

Edmonia Lewis was born on July 14, 1843. Lewis is believed to be the first woman sculptor of African-American and Native American heritage. Little is known about Lewis's early life. Sources give differing birth dates, 1843 and 1845; and birthplaces, Ohio, New York, and New Jersey. Her father was African and her mother was a member of the Ojibwa Native American community. In 1859, Lewis entered Oberlin College in Ohio, where she excelled at drawing. Known as Wildfire in the Ojibwa community, Lewis changed her name to Mary Edmonia during her time at Oberlin; she generally signed her sculptures and her correspondence with the name Edmonia.