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Facing History: Lessons from the Potter’s Wheel

Posted on Feb 2, 2021 by in The OFI Blog |

“Emmett Till” by Jim McDowell, 2016. Photo by Tommy Gartman

Tommy Gartman is an intern at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and a graduate of Tufts University. Through his internship, Tommy wrote a story for Folklife Magazine covering Jim “McDowell, known to many simply as ‘the Black Potter,’…a ceramicist who specializes in stoneware face jugs, a type of vessel bearing the likeness of the human face. Through his work, [McDowell] honors the origin of these culturally rich vessels and reflects on ‘living while Black’ in America in order to call out the racism and injustice endemic to this country. At seventy-five years old, McDowell says he is busier than ever.”

Tommy Gartman shared that the experience of working on this story has altered his grad school and career choices and hopes to share Jim McDowell’s story to Smithsonian audiences. To read the full article, please click here.