Slave Boy

May Howard Jackson

In 1895 May Howard Jackson was granted a scholarship to attend PAFA, becoming the first African American woman to do so. This sculpture was likely completed while Jackson was a student. The figure's firm gaze and slightly quizzical brow demonstrates the artist's deft handling of the bronze form, even early in her career. Perhaps due to the training she received at PAFA, Jackson later declined the invitation of her friend, fellow sculptor Meta Fuller (1877-1968), to accompany her to study in Paris, stating that "she had not thought it necessary to go to Europe to further her education." As a biracial woman who was often mistaken for white, and whose career was negatively impacted by anti-racism, Jackson's work often addressed issues of race and class. In 1922, she became an instructor at Howard University, and taught sculpture and modeling from life subjects.
Date of Birth
1899 (cast 1988)
18 x 12 1/2 x 10 in. (45.72 x 31.75 x 25.4 cm.)
Accession #
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Constance E. Clayton in loving memory of her mother Mrs. Williabell Clayton