Ed Hamilton

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Ed Hamilton
Ed Hamilton at the June 2009 Abraham Lincoln Statue Dedication at Louisville Waterfront Park
Born Edward Norton Hamilton, Jr.
(1947-02-14) February 14, 1947 (age 70)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Nationality United States American
Education Barney Bright
Known for Sculpture
Notable work Spirit of Freedom

Edward Norton Hamilton, Jr. (born February 14, 1947)[1] is an American sculptor living in Louisville, Kentucky, who specializes in public art. His most famous work is The Spirit of Freedom, a memorial to black Civil War veterans, that stands in Washington, DC, in the Shaw neighborhood near Howard University.[2] Hamilton has also created monuments dedicated to Booker T. Washington, Joe Louis, York (William Clark's manservant on the Lewis and Clark Expedition), and the slaves who revolted on La Amistad.[3]


Ed Hamilton was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Louisville by Amy Jane (Camp) and Edward Norton Hamilton, Sr.[3] He graduated from Shawnee High School (Kentucky) in 1965, then received a scholarship to Louisville's Art Center, where he studied sculpture and painting.[4] He graduated from the Louisville School of Art in 1969 and started his teaching career in 1973 at Iroquois High School.[3]

Hamilton, originally a painter, had a chance meeting with Barney Bright – the sculptor responsible for the Derby Clock and the River Horse statue – that changed Hamilton's life.[3] Bright made Hamilton his apprentice, giving him a place to work and the opportunity to learn sculpting.[4] Since learning under Barney Bright, Hamilton has taught sculpture at Jefferson Community College and is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

On December 16, 2004, Hamilton received a Doctor of Arts honorary Degree from the University of Louisville. Two days later, December 18, 2004, Hamilton received an Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Western Kentucky University.[4]

In 2006, Hamilton self-published an autobiography, The Birth of An Artist: a journey of discovery, in which he talked about his work and the creative process. The book was a popular feature of the Kentucky Book Fair in 2007. While working on the book, Hamilton, at age 57, discovered that he was adopted.[5]

In June 2009, Hamilton completed work on the memorial statue of Abraham Lincoln which is located near the base of the Big Four Bridge at the Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky.[2]

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