Fort Sumter National Monument have announced a special painting entitled “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” by Gullah artist Sonja Griffin Evans to be on exhibit at the Liberty Square visitor center starting on February 27 through March 30, 2019. The painting was unveiled at 11:00 am on February 27 during a special program featuring the Ms. Evans. Following the program, Ms. Evans worked with students from Hardeeville Ridgeland Middle School as they created their own painting on the meaning of freedom.
The painting, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory,” depicts one of the earliest readings of the Emancipation Proclamation at Camp Saxton in Port Royal, South Carolina on January 1, 1863 for a crowd of thousands of African Americans freed by this proclamation. Today, part of the Camp Saxton site is included in the Reconstruction Era National Monument (NM). The painting was first unveiled at the one-year anniversary of the establishment of Reconstruction Era NM in January 2018.
Sonja Griffin Evans is an international Gullah Artist, Speaker and Pan African Cultural Heritage Fellow, born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. Through her experience of growing up in the Lowcountry, Ms. Evans captures the beauty, spirituality and purest representations of the Gullah Sea Island and African American culture. As a prolific mix media artist, she incorporates items such as tin, wood and other materials in her art. She and her Gumbo e-Gallery have won many prestigious awards, including: the African Diaspora World Tourism Flame Keepers Award in 2013; she has been named Honoree, Mamie Till Mobley Woman of Courage Award; and an Onyx Award Nominee. Her artwork is in prestigious galleries, private and corporate collections, nationally and abroad.
“The park is honored to showcase an original piece created by Ms. Evans. This artwork is a moving tribute to a historic reading of the Emancipation Proclamation held on January 1, 1863 in South Carolina” states Tracy Stakely, superintendent of Fort Sumter NM. “The story of this nation is preserved and shared throughout many national park sites. This is a wonderful opportunity to link the history at Fort Sumter NM to the history of Reconstruction Era NM as our stories extend well beyond the boundaries of each park.”