Augusta Savage (1892-1962)

Augusta Savage, Lift Every Voice and Sing, 1939, oxidized silver, 11 inches high, signed on the base


Leslie King-Hammond, in the St. James Guide to Black Artists, calls Augusta Savage “a sculptor of remarkable tenacity, will, and determination, in spite of issues of race, class, and gender in an era that did not encourage or recognize women who chose to work in a genre believed to be the domain of white males.”

Savage’s best work was created before 1940. Gamin, Seated Boy, and The Harp, also known as Lift Every Voice and Sing are examples of her most outstanding pieces. Lift Every Voice and Sing was commissioned for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair to commemorate African American contributions to song. Inspired by James Weldon and Rosamond Johnson’s song of the same name, it became one of the Fair’s most popular works.

Savage’s artwork is in the collections of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City and Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC as well as in many private collections.