Commissioned by the 2003-2005 Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus
Dedicated on May 24, 2005
Benjamin Harrison Hill, Democrat, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1968. A native of Canada, Hill was a longtime Tulsa, Oklahoma civic leader. He served as pastor of the Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church and was an elementary teacher, principal and journalist. He earned a bachelor's degree from Wilberforce College, a doctorate in divinity from Samuel Payne Theological University and studied at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln University, and Langston University at Langston, Oklahoma.
Dedicated on May 24, 2005, this portrait of Benjamin Harrison Hill 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.
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.