Edmonia Lewis, African American and Native American Sculptor

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 11 months, 3 weeks ago


Edmonia Lewis, 1870s from the National Portrait Gallery 

 United States History Cross-Links







Edmonia Lewis Google Doodle


  • This image depict her in this cartoon as being sophisticated with nice clothes while working on her famous piece “Death of Cleopatra”.
  • By showing her in a cartoon is more kid friendly and they will be more apt to learn about someone with a setting like this.




 Biography from Smithsonian American Art Museum


  • This biography resources reiterates what was said in the video, but goes into more detail regarding

    Lewis’ life, family, education, and sculptures.


  • Reviewing this biography after viewing the short video would allow students to rehearse information about Lewis, while also making new connections and gaining more insight into the life of Lewis.



Edmonia Lewis from PBS


This video gives a quick overview about Edmonia Lewis and would act as background information/ a “first glance” at who Lewis was. Since the video is not long (only 1 minute), students’ attention is more likely to be sustained and background 


The Death of Cleopatra

The Death of Cleopatra (1876) from Smithsonian Art Museum


  • This resource from the Smithsonian Museum focuses on “The Death of Cleopatra” depicts the intricacy of Lewis’ work and her perspective on the story.
  • This opens up her take on stories and we can assume the rawness of the artwork is because of the hardships she has faced growing up. The raw reality of being an African and Native American woman contributed to her take on art.


"The Death of Cleopatra" by Reginald Arthur. I think it is another wonderful take inspired by Edmonia Lewis.


File:The Death of Cleopatra arthur.jpg



Forever Free by Edmonia Lewis (1867) from Howard University Art Gallery


Edmonia Lewis Sculptures


 Through this website, students can click on pictures of Lewis’ sculptures, zoom in on them, view different perspectives of the sculpture (left and right perspective pictures are provided), and analyze logistics of the sculptures (locations, dates and descriptions are provided).




The Unlikely Success of Edmonia Lewis, a Black Sculptor in the 19th Century


  • This text tells the story of one of Lewis’ most famous sculptures, Forever Free, giving students an opportunity to read about Lewis in a way that may be more entertaining and memorable.


  • Since the information in this text is even more detailed than the biography, this text could be presented to students after having exposure to both the video the biography. In doing so, students would be able to continuously make connections between sources and gradually build their knowledge about Lewis (logical-mathematical component).





Material on differentiated learning submitted by Georgia MacDonald and Olivia Horn (March 2020)






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