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Lot 882    

Unusual Carved Oak Seat with African American Figures
4/12/2014 - Americana: Live Salesroom Auction
American, late 19th-early 20th century. An oak oversized seat with an unusual back panel consisting of two African American figures, a female and a male, both having exaggerated features and peering around a fence. The seat rests on squared legs with squared stretchers; oah 36, wd. 28.5, dp. 18.5 in.

This piece previously belonged to Eugene Smith, a lawyer and former Tuskegee Airman. Smith was born to parents of European and Native American origins, thus his 1918 birth certificate listed him as "colored".  When he enlisted in World War II, the army would not let him attend flight school with white soldiers.  If he still wanted to be a pilot, the only option he was given was to join African-American pilots training in Tuskegee, Alabama.  Smith rose to the rank of lieutenant and served in Europe with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, but because he was not African American, his contributions to his country have often been overlooked.  After the war Smith earned a law degree and practiced law in Cincinnati for over 50 years before retiring to rural Indiana.  Smith passed away in 2012.  


Provenance:  
Ex Eugene Smith, Tuskegee Airman to the present consignor


Condition:  
A few of the buttons covering screws in the back are missing.  Some wear to finish, but finish appears to be original.  
Sold: $2,400.00
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