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Edward P. McCabe, 1850-1923

by Simmie Knox

Commissioned by the 2003-2005 Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus
Dimensions: 40 x 30
Dedicated May 24, 2005

Edward P. McCabe, 1850-1923 by Simmie Knox
Photo by John Jernigan

The Artwork

Edward P. McCabe was former Kansas state auditor and was considered the most powerful man in Kansas. After he moved to Oklahoma Territory in 1890, he established the City of Langston, an all-Black community, and the Langston Herald newspaper. McCabe said the Territory was the “paradise of Eden and the garden of the Gods.” Until statehood, he served as deputy territorial auditor of Oklahoma and was heavily involved in early Oklahoma civil rights issues. He supported Oklahoma entering the Union as a majority-Black state.

The Artist

Simmie Knox
Simmie Knox

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 of Fine Arts 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.