Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave


  • Children’s book teaching about the life of Dave the potter and his artistry in the 1800s while he was enslaved
  • Written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier
  • 40 pages

“Put every bit all between / surely this Jar will hold 14” So reads the poetry on David Drake’s earliest recorded work, a pot dated July 12th, 1834. Drake was born with slave status around 1800, on a plantation in South Carolina. A potter of unparalleled skill, Drake made over 40,000 pots during his lifetime, ascribing some with poetry, others with mysterious lines, and some simply with “Dave.”

“Dave the Potter” walks us through Dave’s ceramic process, concentrating on the knowns, rather than speculating about the unknowns, of David Drake’s life. Winner of a Coretta Scott Book Award, “Dave the Potter” is a beautiful introduction to a great American artist.