Wildfire Mary Edmonia Lewis was born in Greenbush, New York sometime in the mid 1860s — no one knows exactly when. She was the daughter of an Ojibwa (or part Ojibwa) woman and a Black (Haitian) man. Her life is hard to follow and it seems she might have liked that. Her parents died when she was young. She was raised by her mother’s tribe in upstate New York. Her half-brother had some success in the gold rush and financed Wildfire’s (an apt name) attendance at Oberlin College in 1859. Scandals forced her to leave the college without graduating and nearly cost her her life.
Despite the many limitations imposed on those of her race and gender, Wildfire became a successful sculptor on her own terms.
Learn the detail here.