Edmonia Lewis (c) A. Henderson      


NOW AVAILABLE: The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis. A Narrative Biography,  by Harry Henderson ( co-author of A History of African American Art from 1792 to the Present) and Albert Henderson, winner of the eLit GOLD award: "Illuminating Digital Publishing Excellence." Independent Opinion:  "The Hendersonsí monument of research and craftsmanship seeks to give Lewis the consideration that she has been deniedónot dissimilar to the artistís own commitment to proving her competitors and critics wrong, demonstrating that a minority could take on the hegemonic tradition of fine arts. The book provides crystalline accounts of Lewisís feuds and mentorships, as well as rich illustrations of the works being discussed throughout. Overall, the authors deliver a well-constructed mix of primary resources, critical analysis and literary flourishes." - Kirkus Reviews. "Thank you so much for your excellent research ... Your work on Edmonia Lewis will be used for many years to come by scholars, art historians, art collectors and anyone interested in knowing more about this outstanding woman"  - Dr. Sheryl Colyer.  "Lewisís story is all at once interesting and sad. Her life, while forgotten for a while is now making a come back among art historians and this immense work helps to secure her artistic legacy." Lifelong Dewey   "A key acquisition for any arts or African-American history holding. The authors' attention to precise scholarship provides all the details of a solid linear history and biography but the end result is anything but dry: it reads with the passion and drama of good literature." Midwest Book Review  "A definitive biography" Washington Times  "5.0 of 5 stars" - Links Goodreads

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MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW, Vol. 12, no. 2, Feb. 2013

reviewed by Diane Donovan, ebook reviewer, 

The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis
Harry Henderson and Albert Henderson
Esquiline Hill Press
9781588634511    $9.99
Also available in multiple e-book formats, including Nook from B&N, and epub and pdf from Untreed Reads, Fread, and Overdrive.
The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis tells of the first famous 'colored sculptor' to capture her African and 
Native American mixed heritage in stone, revealing the cultural and artistic influences of a strong woman who 
encouraged social change after the Civil War. In-depth research on source material including her writings, 
hundreds of news items, and more than two dozen published interviews were used in the making of this biography, 
which goes beyond surface history to probe Lewis' psyche and the many mysteries surrounding her life and times.

Unlike many scholarly works, the dedication and introduction section is actually filled with important keys to 
understanding how the authors came to research Edmonia Lewis: "Based on their twenty-year friendship, Bearden 
had recruited my father to help him rectify a glaring omission in cultural resources. Barely a word about important 
African Americans appeared in the canons of art history. Together they pioneered research and wrote biographies 
to remedy the gap."

It also provides a key answer to newcomers to Lewis who wonder why they would want to read about her: "Simply 
calling her exceptional is a gross understatement, like saying the Louvre collects wonderful paintings. She was a 
gatecrasher in the elite world of fine art and a self-made woman. She found fame and prospered at a time when 
wealthy white women had few legal rights; colored women, rich or poor, had less to none."

Until now the lack of a scholarly, well-researched biography has resulted in many myths surrounding Lewis' life. This 
fact alone makes The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis a key acquisition for any arts or Afro-American history 
holding. The authors' attention to precise scholarship provides all the details of a solid linear history and biography 
but the end result is anything but dry: it reads with the passion and drama of good literature: "A colored person could 
become a successful artist. This man proved it. Afterwards, kneading clay, she must have mused over his path. He 
worked as a hairdresser in order to acquire the fine art of painting in spare moments."

From her early influences and how they affected her art to her involvement in civil rights and women's rights issues, The 
Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis successfully charts the course of her life and places her art and achievements 
squarely in the social, political and artistic tone of her times: "Despite the sympathies of many New England artists, the 
features of black Africans were as rare in literary sculpture as Swahili greetings in the King James Bible. Ancient 
Olympus had no such gods or goddesses to guide these Greek revivalists. Only the controversial tabletop group, the 
foot-high Slave Auction modeled in 1859 by Salem born John Rogers, featured colored people." 

Discussions are replete with this background and chapters also come photos (many in color) of Lewis' sculptures, 
marking their evolution and progression as her life and art evolved. Twelve of the 55 illustrations are in color, making for 
a fine visual survey to accompany the written history.

There are really only two requirements for an enjoyment of this detailed survey: an appreciation for scholarship with all its 
footnotes and extensive references, and an appreciation for the remarkable life and achievements of one of America's 
first black artists. 

Any with such interests will find The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis an unexpectedly lively, revealing survey that does 
much to re-create the social and political atmosphere surrounding her times.
Reprinted with permission