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Pas RA11 - ill during the ride and accused Lewis of having...

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JP Lyninger III African American Art to 1920 Reading Assignment 11 John Mercer Langston & the Case of Edmonia Lewis: Oberlin, 1862 The history of the arrest and trial of Edmonia Lewis, a famous artist of mixed racial heritage, is told by Geoffrey Blodgett in this through essay. He begins by sharing some of Lewis’ background, both before and during her time as a student at Oberlin College. Blodgett then recounts the story of Oberlin College’s moral mission as a center for desegregation of education and its village’s background as a center for harboring escaped slaves. Edmonia Lewis was accused of poisoning two of her classmates who Blodgett says to have ‘fell into the pastime of “running on” Edmonia.’ The classmates were white, although it isn’t clear that Edmonia’s skin color was a factor in their teasing her. The two classmates planned on an excursion with a pair of ‘gentlemen callers’ in a winter sleigh ride, and Lewis offered the girls hot, spiced wine before their trip. The two girls became
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Unformatted text preview: ill during the ride and accused Lewis of having poisoned them. When the college took no action due to lack of evidence, local vigilantes abducted Lewis one night and beat her. Eventually, Lewis was put on trial. At her defense was a famous black attorney, JM Langston, who was himself a product of Oberlin. During the trial, it was revealed that the girls had been poisoned by use of Spanish fly, an aphrodisiac that can be fatal in very small quantities. However, when Langston showed that no samples from the girls had been preserved or subjected to analysis, he argued and won the dismissal of the case for lack of evidence. While Lewis was free, it is unclear whether she poisoned the girls, or even if there might have been a less nefarious but still illicit use for the drink that had unintended consequences. Lewis left Oberlin and went on to become a very famous and skilled sculptor....
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Pas RA11 - ill during the ride and accused Lewis of having...

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