Commissioned by the 2003-2005 Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus
Dedicated on May 24, 2005
A. C. Hamlin, Republican, was the first African American elected to the Oklahoma State Legislature. The year was 1908. Born in Kansas, Hamlin settled with his parents on a farm southeast of Guthrie, Oklahoma in 1890. He became actively involved in community affairs, serving on the local school board and as township trustee. He sponsored successful legislation that established the Taft School for Disabled and Orphaned Children in Taft, Oklahoma.
This portrait of A. C. Hamlin was painted by nationally known artist Simmie Knox, Silver Springs, Maryland. Commissioned by the 2003-2005 Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, it is one of a series of portraits authorized by the caucus and approved by the Capitol Preservation Commission and directed by the Oklahoma Arts Council. Dedicated on May 24, 2005.
Regarding his work, Simmie Knox states, " I think that a good portrait is the most difficult thing for an artist to bring off successfully. Not only must you get an accurate likeness but you must also create a good painting. Somehow you must convey a subject's character, spirit and personality; and everything must communicate the dynamism of the subject." Since 1981, Knox has specialized in portraiture. He earned a Master's of Fine Art from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Pennsylvania. Knox was commissioned to paint the official portrait of former President Bill Clinton, resulting in Knox becoming the first African American to ever paint an official portrait of an American president. Knox has painted portraits of U.S. congressmen and state senators, civic leaders, celebrities and religious leaders.