Lecture to Highlight the Life and Work of Dave, an Enslaved Potter/PoetFor Immediate Release, September 2008
In conjunction with its special exhibit From Slave to Sharecropper: African Americans in the Lowcountry after the Civil War, The Charleston Museum will host a lecture and booksigning event on Tuesday, October 28. Leonard Todd will tell the compelling story of a potter named Dave, who was a slave owned by Todd's ancestors. This remarkable 19th-century artist has become well known for the beauty and sometimes massive size of his alkaline-glazed pottery, as well as for the poetic verses inscribed on many of his vessels. The lecture will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Museum's auditorium and the signing of Leonard Todd's new book, Carolina Clay: The Life and Legend of the Slave Potter Dave, will follow in the Museum Shop. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 722-2996 or visit www.charlestonmuseum.org.
The Charleston Museum was the first museum to begin collecting Dave's work in 1919. This led to an interest in this previously unknown potter/poet from Edgefield, South Carolina, and Edgefield pottery in general. Edgefield pottery is alkaline-glazed stoneware representing a fusion of English, European, Asian and African traditions. The Museum's vast collection of Edgefield pottery contains two mammoth storage jars which are the largest known examples of Dave's work. Because of their size, he probably had to make the pots in sections and then fuse them together before firing. Several of the Museum's nine collection pieces attributed to Dave will be on exhibit for this event.
About Leonard Todd
Leonard Todd is the author of Carolina Clay: The Life and Legend of the Slave Potter Dave. When Todd discovered that one of the most famous slave artisans of the antebellum South had been owned by his family, he traveled from his home in Manhattan to South Carolina, where he sifted through records of slavery, rebellion, and war to uncover Dave's stirring story. His book will be published in October 2008 by W.W. Norton. Todd is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Art and Architecture. This former Fulbright Scholar has been a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
About From Slave to Sharecropper
The Charleston Museum presents an original exhibition to commemorate the bicentennial of the abolition of the international slave trade in the United States and the British Empire. From Slave to Sharecropper: African Americans in the Lowcountry after the Civil War, on exhibit June 12, 2008 - February 28, 2009, is based upon the recollections and memories of Lowcountry descendants of slaves and sharecroppers. The exhibit includes artifacts and images from the Museum's collection related to the African American experience in the Lowcountry after the Civil War and into the 20th century.
About The Charleston Museum
The Charleston Museum, founded in 1773, is America's first museum. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located along Charleston's Museum Mile. Holding the most extensive collection of South Carolina cultural and scientific collections in the nation, it also owns two National Historic Landmark houses, the Heyward-Washington House (1772) and the Joseph Manigault House (1803), as well as the Dill Sanctuary, a 580-acre wildlife preserve. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Museum admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.