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Mathias de Sousa

Sep 07 – Sep 20, 2023
Praising the Past

mathias de sousa

The Honoree

Possibly of African and Portuguese descent, Mathias de Sousa was an indentured servant brought to Maryland, USA by Jesuit missionaries in 1634. His indenture was finished by 1638, and he became a mariner and fur trader. He served in the 1642 legislative assembly of freemen. As such. he is the first African American to sit in any legislative body in what would become the United States. Until 1670, even freemen of color such as de Sousa had the right to vote.

St. Mary's County, Maryland

St. Mary's County was settled by the Chaptico when the English Catholic immigrants arrived. At a time when the British colonies were settled primarily by Protestants, St. Mary’s was considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in English North America. Today, the county is part of the Metropolitan Baltimore-Washington area and is about 15 percent Black in a state that is more than 30 percent Black.

brazil on a map

The Artist's Creative Explanation

“I wanted to bring Mathias de Sousa to life on a carefree day on Kent Island, Colonial Maryland. My artist palette included white, pinks, yellows, raw umber, and burnt sienna. For this painting, I used a dry canvas technique (no wash for canvas preparation) and various artistic mediums: watercolor, oils, acrylics, oil pastels, black ink, pencils, and broken lines to show de Sousa’s strong facial features, giving him a rugged but approachable look.”

rose jackson

- Artist Rose MG Jackson

About "From These Shores"

From These Shores celebrates the accomplishments of 18 known and lesser-known Africans in the diaspora across time and geography. The 12 panels hang at the Juffureh Slavery Museum, The Gambia and online. Timbooktoo Bookstore in New Bakau, The Gambia and Mansa Musa Restaurant in Takoma Park, MD USA each display one of the panels.
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