Bass”. 2022. 4ft x 5ft. Acrylic on canvas.

I loved painting Bass Reeves and I loved bringing this famous black and white image of Bass into such vivid colors. He was not only iconic to Fort Smith, but he was iconic to the west. He was born into slavery, but later escaped and fled to Indian territory. He learned their languages, culture, and way of life. He was freed from slavery with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. As a freedman, Bass moved to Van Buren, Arkansas to start a farm. Isaac Parker or “Hanging Judge” Parker appointed Bass to become a US Marshal. Bass Reeves was the first black deputy to serve west of the Mississippi. He knew the Indian territory and he was very good at bringing outlaws hiding in the Indian Territory back to Fort Smith to stand trial. Bass Reeves worked for 32 years as a Marshal in the Indian Territory and he had on his record over 3,000 arrests of felons.

In the background I have written “Hero, Fort Smith, Law, Justice, Free, and 13th” for the 13th amendment.

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