Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

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6 minutes, 49 seconds

Sonja Griffin Evans goes into detail about the inspiration behind her painting for the first anniversary of Reconstruction Era National Historical Park.

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, Reconstruction Era National Historical Park Collection, – Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 60, 2018 © Sonja Griffin Evans

'Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory' is the first painting in the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park Collection and is by local artist Sonja Griffin Evans. She was asked to create it to celebrate the One Year Anniversary of the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, designated by President Barack Obama. The painting depicts January 1, 1863, when General Rufus Saxton assembled a large populace on the site of Smith Plantation for one of the earliest readings of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Within the painting are images of designated sites included in the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park- Darrah Hall and Brick Baptist Church, both located on St. Helena Island in the Penn Center National Historic Landmark District; and Camp Saxton, located in Port Royal. This piece is an expression of one of the first moment of freedom for a people who maintained the strength, faith, and determination, despite the many adversities they faced in a life of bondage, violence, despair, and oppression. It visually tells a story that encourages us to understand that denying people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

'Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory' reminds us how crucial it is to define what we mean by freedom, so that we know what we’re looking for and what we’re hoping to attain. Sonja Griffin Evans hopes that the painting encourages us to find peace with God and all mankind. That it will let us all be “Free at last and have one Nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

Sonja stands at a table painting on a canvas.

Sonja Griffin Evans

About the Artist

Internationally acclaimed Gullah Artist and Speaker Sonja Griffin Evans was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. A true product of the South called the Lowcountry, the area prides itself on its ability to preserve its culture and heritage. The Lowcountry has been an incredible influence on Sonja's artwork, giving her inspiration and an uncanny ability to capture the beauty, spirituality and a pure representation of the Gullah Sea Island and African American culture. Learn more about Sonja Griffin Evans on her website.

Reconstruction Era National Historical Park

Last updated: April 10, 2024