Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina

September 9, 2022–February 5, 2023
Previously on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 955
Free with Museum admission

Brooke Bauer

Brooke Bauer is a citizen of the Catawba Nation of South Carolina and an assistant professor of U.S. history at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She learned to make pottery and baskets from a long line of Catawba women, including her mother, grandmothers, and aunts. Bauer is also the author of the forthcoming book, BecomingCatawba: Catawba Women and Nation-building, 1540–1840. Other publications include an article on Catawba Indians in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History and contributions to chapters in We Will Always Be Here: Southern Native Peoples on Living and Thriving in the 20th Centuryand Beyond (2016) and The Ethics of Anthropology and Amerindian Research: Reporting on Environmental Degradation and Warfare.

Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown is the Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He has published two prize-winning books about the history of slavery: The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (2008) and Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War (2020). The author of numerous articles and reviews in scholarly journals, he is also Principal Investigator and curator for the animated thematic map Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760–1761: A Cartographic Narrative (2013). He produced the award-winning television documentary Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness (2009) and is the executive producer and host for The Bigger Picture, co-produced with WNET for PBS Digital.

George W. Calfas

George W. Calfas is an archaeologist and holds a PhD in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an active member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists, Society for American Archaeology, and Society for Historical Archaeology. George is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and advises doctoral candidates in the departments of anthropology, sociology, engineering, and regional and urban planning. George’s research interests focus on aspects of African diaspora cultures and history and the development of stoneware ceramic traditions by African American and European American craftspeople. Currently, George serves as a co-project investigator for graduate research at the National Historic Landmark site of New Philadelphia in Pike County, Illinois.

Adebunmi Gbadebo

Adebunmi Gbadebo is an artist whose work centers on deeply resonant materials like indigo, clay hand dug from plantations, and human hair. She creates her work through intensive research, site visits, and material investigations that inform Gbadebo’s studio practice. Her work carefully tends to the stories of ancestors, families, and individuals either long overlooked or too-closely surveilled. New Jersey-born and Philadelphia-based Adebunmi earned her BFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Gbadebo’s work is in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the South Carolina State Museum, and the Newark Museum of Art amongst others.

Glenn Ligon

Glenn Ligon is an artist living and working in New York. Throughout his career, Ligon has pursued an incisive exploration of American history, literature, and society across bodies of work that build critically on the legacies of modern painting and conceptual art. He received a BA from Wesleyan University and attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. In 2011, the Whitney Museum of American Art held a mid-career retrospective of Ligon’s work, Glenn Ligon: America, which traveled nationally. Important recent shows include Grief and Grievance (2021) at the New Museum, where Ligon acted as a curatorial advisor; Des Parisiens Noirs at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Blue Black (2017), an exhibition Ligon curated at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis; and Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions (2015), a curatorial project organized with Nottingham Contemporary and Tate Liverpool. (Image courtesy of Paul Mgapi Sepuya)

David Mack

David F. Mack is an artist, educator, researcher, and retired Lieutenant Colonel. He received his BS from Morgan State University, an MFA from The Maryland Institute College of Art, and an advanced military diploma from the US Army Command and General Staff College. He was awarded three National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) program acceptance proposal letters and was a 2021 NCECA virtual panel member for the discussion group Enslaved and Freed Nineteenth Century African American Potters. He also contributes to Ceramic Monthly Magazine, with his most recent article being “Enslaved and Freed African American Potters” and is the author of a reparations proposal, titled The Stolen Bones Act of 1619, which would return stolen artifacts made by industrial enslaved people to their descendants.

Tonya M. Matthews

Tonya M. Matthews is President and CEO of the International African American Museum (IAAM), located in Charleston, South Carolina. As a champion of authentic, empathetic storytelling of American history, IAAM is one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism. A thought-leader in inclusive frameworks, social entrepreneurship, and education, Matthews has written articles and book chapters across these varied subjects. She is the founder of The STEMinista Project, a movement to engage girls in their future with STEM careers. Matthews is also a poet and is included in 100 Best African American Poems (2010), edited by Nikki Giovanni. Matthews received her PhD in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her BSE in engineering from Duke University, alongside a certificate in African/African American studies.

Wayne O’Bryant

Wayne O’Bryant is an award-winning author, historian, lecturer, and researcher. Wayne has written several books on African American history and comparative religions. He has been featured in several documentaries on African American history, serves as a consultant to multiple museums, and curates exhibits on African American culture across the United States. Born in the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, the premier slave port for the U. S. Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, he was raised by three generations of master educators who taught amongst the enigmatic Gullah Geechee people, the most African of all African Americans. His maternal relatives taught him Black history that was missing from textbooks, which laid the foundation for his understanding of America and its relation to African American history. Wayne later moved to North Augusta, South Carolina, bringing him to the area where his paternal ancestry stretches back to the mid-1700s in Old Edgefield County. Some of his enslaved ancestors worked in the potteries contemporary with David Drake and were present when a group of newly arrived Africans from the slave ship Wanderer arrived.