Skip to Content

McKissick Museum

McKissick Museum hosts Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar lecture on David Drake's artistic legacies

McKissick Museum is proud to collect, research, and exhibit pottery produced by Dave (later recorded as David Drake, ca. 1800-1870), an enslaved African American potter and poet who lived and worked in Old Edgefield District, South Carolina. Today, David Drake’s ceramic vessels are found in the most renowned museums across the United States. Often incised with original poetry and signed “Dave,” his pots are counted among the largest and most accomplished to be made in the nineteenth century. In 2021, one sold for $1.5 million. Yet, this artist spent almost his entire life enslaved in South Carolina; his friends and family members could be sold off as easily as the wares he was known for even then.  In addition to being famous for his pots, Drake is perhaps the only Black writer, free or enslaved, to create surviving literature that never appeared in print. His page was clay.

We invite members of the USC community and the general public to join us on Thursday, February 23 for a conversation with Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Dr. P Gabrielle Foreman and poet Glenis Redmond about their book, Praise Songs for Dave the Potter: Art and Poetry for David Drake. USC Art History and African American Studies Assistant Professor Abbe Schriber will moderate a conversation between the author and poet. A book signing will follow the talk and copies will be for sale by the local bookstore All Good Books

His Page Was Clay: The Artistic Legacies of the Poet and Potter, David Drake

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Close-Hipp Building's Lumpkin Auditorium (Room 830)

This talk introduces audiences to David Drake’s pottery and poetry and shares how he has inspired a generation of visual artists and poets who came after him. Registration is not required to attend, but it is encouraged. Register via Eventbrite or by calling 803-777-2876.

This event is co-sponsored by McKissick Museum, the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter at USC, a USC Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Excellence Grant, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of African American Studies, and the School of Visual Art and Design.

About the Presenters

Photograph of Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman

Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman

Dr. Foreman holds the Paterno Chair of Liberal Arts and is Professor of English, African American Studies, and History at Penn State University. Professor Foreman is a poet's daughter and interdisciplinary scholar raised between the South Side of Chicago and Venice Beach, California. She is the founding faculty director of the award-winning Colored Conventions Project which is housed in Penn State's Center for Digital Black Research/#DigBlk, which she launched and co-directs with Shirley Moody-Turner. #DigBlk is made up of undergraduate researchers, graduate student leaders, librarians, satellite faculty, and arts and community partners who bring the buried history of early Black organizing to digital life. Dr. Foreman was recently announced as a 2022 MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Photo of Glenis Redmond wearing an orange leather jacket and earrings that read "Faith Love Hope".

Glenis Redmond

Redmond is grounded in many worlds as a Poet, Teaching Artist, and Imagination Activist. As a Poet, her feet are firmly planted on both the page and the stage. As a Teaching Artist, her educational reach extends into the classroom, where she teaches both students and teachers to open to their own poetry within. As an Imagination Activist, she uses the bright bloom of her heart and soul to unlock the doors of creativity in others in the community-at-large. Redmond is the recipient of South Carolina’s highest award in the arts, The Governor’s Award. She is a Kennedy Center teaching artist and Cave Canem poet. She is widely published and also a dynamic performer and has presented all around the country and the world for both students and audiences of all ages.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.