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Google Doodle Starts Black History Month by Paying Tribute to Iconic Sculptor Edmonia Lewis

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To begin Black History Month, today’s Google Doodle honors Edmonia Lewis, the first woman of African American and Native American heritage to achieve international recognition as a sculptor. In the Doodle by Sophie Diao, Lewis is sculpting “The Death of Cleopatra,” one of her most famous works. The colors of the letters reference the name Lewis was given by her mother’s nomadic family, “Wildfire.”

The sculptor was known for “incorporating African American and Native American cultural themes into her Neoclassical style sculpture.” Passionate about art, Lewis enrolled at Oberlin College at age 15 and faced brutal discrimination–she left for Boston without finishing her final term after a brutal assault. She then had challenges finding an apprenticeship until she met sculptor Edward A. Brackett.

Lewis’ works include sculptures of abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison, Charles Sumner, Wendell Phillips, John Brown, and Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. With this success, she traveled to Europe and settled down in Rome where she established a studio and continued to create highly-acclaimed work until her death.

Past doodles on this day have featured Langston Hughes (today is his 115th birthday), Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass. You can read more about Lewis here and check out her Google Arts & culture exhibit here.

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