Joe Riley, who served as Charleston’s mayor for 40 years, also will be honored.
Todd is the author of a book about the potter called “Carolina Clay.”
An enslaved African-American owned by Todd’s ancestors, Dave lived in the Edgefield District in the 1800s and made jugs, storage jars and other stoneware vessels. He knew how to read and write, and sometimes he put his name on his pieces and decorated them with poems.
Some of Dave’s creations have been sold for tens of thousands of dollars. The Historical Museum has five storage jars and a cup-and-saucer set made by Dave.
“In a system where some people were simply looked at as property and relegated to obscurity and anonymity, it’s amazing to me that Dave’s art lives on,” Baratto said. “I don’t know if he was a good person or a bad person, but I know he was an enslaved person. His life probably wasn’t a choice that he made, so I think there is a certain dignity and hopefulness in the fact that he is now more well-known than any of his masters.”
Baratto recently was elected president of the Confederation of South Carolina Local Historical Societies. While serving as the District 5 representative for the organization, she worked to promote Dave as a Hall of Fame candidate.
“The Confederation is responsible for forwarding to the Hall of Fame 10 nominees in the contemporary category and 10 nominees in the deceased category each year,” Baratto said. “Then the Hall of Fame’s board looks at them and votes for one in each category.”
As the District 5 representative, one of Baratto’s duties was to find Hall of Fame nominees from the counties of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg.
“I noticed there was only one person from Aiken County, William Gregg, in the Hall of Fame,” Baratto said. “When I realized that Dave wasn’t in the Hall of Fame, I thought it was a glaring omission. Even though he is best known as an Edgefield potter, part of Aiken County was once in the Edgefield District. Dave created a lot of his pots when he was living in what is now Aiken County, so Aiken County claims him, too.”
Baratto and others are working on plans to hold a “Dave Day” in Aiken and Edgefield counties later this year.
“We don’t know any of the specifics yet, but hopefully, there will be a special exhibit and a reception at the Historical Museum,” Baratto said.” ~ Augusta Chronicle.
We will let you know about “Dave Day” as soon as possible. It will be a fabulous celebration with special speakers and performers to celebrate the life and legend of Dave!
2016 SCHOF Ceremony Invitation