B-UHS senior Emily Adams displays her portrait of suffragette Coralie Franklin Cook, which was chosen to be displayed in First Lady Melania Trump’s ‘Building the Movement: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage' exhibit.

B-UHS senior’s portrait of Black suffragette to appear in First Lady’s White House exhibit

BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon-Upshur High School senior was chosen to have her artwork appear in a national exhibit honoring the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Emily Adams submitted a portrait of suffragette Coralie Franklin Cook to First Lady Melania Trump’s ‘Building the Movement: America’s Youth Celebrate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage’ exhibit. The First Lady invited students in grades 3 through 12 to submit artwork that will be included in the exhibit. One submission from each state, the District of Columbia, America Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be included.

The collection of artwork is being displayed in a White House exhibit that launched just this month, the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

The 19th Amendment, which was ratified in August of 1920, gave women the right to vote. It states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Adams said she was honored to have been chosen.

“It’s so rewarding, and it makes me super happy, but I’m also nervous because I’m the only one out of West Virginia who was chosen,” she said. “I don’t know how many pieces were sent in from West Virginia, but they picked mine.”

She explained that she chose to draw a portrait of Coralie Franklin Cook because she wanted to feature a suffragette that might not be as well-known as say, Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

“I wanted to do one that wasn’t well-known because I know people know who Susan B. Anthony is,” Adams said. “Most people know who the main ones are, and I wanted to draw one who people don’t really know about, and Coralie founded the National Association of Colored Women.”

Adams said the portrait itself was made using graphite and the colors in the background were acrylic.

“The colors are the American woman suffragist flag colors, which are gold, white and violet,” Adams said. “If you take each one of the first letters of the colors, they stand for Give Women the Vote.”

Adams said she decided to create the portrait because portraiture is the genre in which she is most confident in her abilities.

“The best thing that I can do are portraits, not in a professional way, but that is what I think I can do the best,” she said, “and in the beginning, I was doing an 18-by-24 piece, and I did not realize that there was a size limit,” Adams said. “It was a big piece, and I’m actually still trying to get it done because it was really cool, and I liked it a lot.”

Adams’s mom, Sheila Adams, said she has always loved art and has always been an excellent artist.

“She has a natural God-given ability for art,” Sheila Adams said. “It started from the time she could hold a pencil; she would make really elaborate sketch drawings that would just blow your mind. She would do little paintings and draw things and from a very young age. She didn’t do the typical stick people; she really put more 3D and other details into her creations.”

Sheila Adams said her daughter was accepted into the Governor’s School of the Arts last year.

“They had a trip to Chicago full of all sorts of wonderful experiences. It was a three-week program, and she represented Upshur County,” Sheila Adams said. “I believe she was the only student from Upshur County that was accepted into the program last year.”

Adams said she loves art so much, she hopes to find a career path involving art when she goes to college.

“I never thought I’d be here, and now I’m actually thinking about getting either a double major or an undergraduate in some sort of art. I’m thinking about going into art therapy,” Adams said.

Read more about the First Lady’s exhibit here.

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