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​Monumental Google Doodle kicks off Black History Month

The Doodle honors Edmonia Lewis, a black and Native American sculptor active in the 19th century and known for her marble statues.

Lewis carves out a name for herself with "The Death of Cleopatra."

Google

The Google Doodle celebrating American sculptor Edmonia Lewis is vibrant, just as she was known to be in reshaping convention.

Google kicked off Black History Month on Wednesday by saluting Lewis, a New York native who was the first female of black and Native American descent to become a renowned sculptor in the western tradition. The doodle depicts her with one of her most famous works, "The Death of Cleopatra," which is housed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

Lewis, whose Native American name was Wildfire, is perhaps best known for incorporating her own cultures into her Neoclassical style sculpture. She was born in 1844 and lived into the early years of the 20th century.

"Her work paid homage to the abolitionists and Civil War heroes of her day, including John Brown and Col. Robert Gould Shaw," Google's description of her reads. "Decades later, Lewis' legacy continues to thrive through her art and the path she helped forge for women and artists of color. Today, we celebrate her and what she stands for -- self-expression through art, even in the face of adversity."

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