As the United States kicks off its Black History Month, Google has chosen Feb. 1 to celebrate the life of 19th century African American sculptor Edmonia Lewis.

Lewis was born in New York in 1844 to a father of Afro-Haitian and a mother of Mississauga Ojibwe and African-American descent. Her parents died when she was nine, leading to her adoption by her maternal aunts. Lewis enrolled in Oberlin College at the age of 15 but could not receive her degree because of the discrimination she faced at the hands of those around her.

She overcame the setback to pursue a career as a sculptor and went on to serve as an apprentice under a Boston sculptor, Edward A. Brackett. It was while she was working under Brackett that she carried out her first solo exhibition, paying tribute to abolitionists and those who fought in the Civil War.

Lewis was also commissioned to work on a portrait of U.S. President Ulysses S Grant in 1877, reports say.

Her work was greatly appreciated and she travelled to Rome, Italy, which she chose to make her base later in her life. It was in Rome that she started sculpting with marble, amalgamating the Neoclassical style with her cultural experiences.

After receiving great amounts of praise for her work, Lewis died in September 1907in London. However, for years she was thought to have died in 1911 in Rome, according to  Cowan’s Auctions report.

“Decades later, Lewis’s legacy continues to thrive through her art and the path she helped forge for women and artists of color,” Google wrote in its celebration of her life. “Today, we celebrate her and what she stands for — self-expression through art, even in the face of adversity.”