Claire Michelle

Cast Bronze, 2005
12" x 12" x 36"

It was a well-known fact that Claire Michelle was the most striking woman in the State of Kentucky. Many times she was told that her beauty would somehow work against her because of the atmosphere of the times. Slavery had ended just 30 years before, and the staunch Southerners were still reeling from the defeat and the social upheaval within their culture.

Claire Michelle walks slowly and cautiously in the evening of the day, when shapes and colors are subdued, and the lack of sunlight creates a blending of all hues into a purplish evening glow.

Her knowledge of survival was handed down through generations of brave, intelligent women of her family. They taught her the skills of disguising her feminine beauty, plus the art of physically freeing herself from dangerous situations. If that failed, and her life was in jeopardy, her last resort would be to use her umbrella, which held a spear tip that somehow survived the Middle Passage and served as a symbol of her family's perseverance.