Madame from Fruitvale and Her Dog

Cast Bronze, 2003
23" x 24" x 36"

Her appearance did not always reflect a figure of wealth and substance. Beneath her physical trappings she reveals the worst and best of herstories.

From her early years she was curious about her past, for somehow the treatment of others of her race was very different from her experience. Her grandmother spoke to her about a place far away when as a child she was taken by men with European and African features and marched off to unknown places where half of those she traveled with perished from maltreatment and a variety of strange diseases.

Her youthful years were spent in slavery. She was a house servant because of her mixed blood and good looks. Her owners treated their slaves a little better than most, but still she was awakened by the sounds of dogs pursuing human beings through the swamplands of the Delta country.

Here she stands in the year 1880 living on the land she inherited from her mistress who taught her the sewing crafts. This lead her to become the top seamstress in the state, preparing luxurious gowns for royalty and the wealthy, both Black and White. It is said that the large dog that accompanies her on walks through the town was once a slave-catching brute that lost its paw to an alligator while pursuing a runaway slave. Her walks are brief, for dangers exist in the form of slave catchers still practicing their hunting skills these many years after freedom.