Edward Hogan Biography

Edward Hogan




African-American artist Edward "Muskogee" Hogan was born to Booker T. and Lillie May Hogan in Muskogee, Muskogee County, Oklahoma, on November 12, 1937. He received a Fine Arts Degree from Kansas City Art Institute and an MA with a major in printmaking from the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). He was a Lance Corporal in the US Marine Corps during the Korean War. After returning to Kansas City he became an adjunct professor of art at UMKC and directed the college's High School Art Program until his retirement in 2007.

It was written in his obituary that "Hogan's work as an artist reflects his heritage and interest in Kansas City's past. He has extensively researched the slave migration movements of the original Missouri Town of Kansas and the slave's interaction with the Huron Native American tribe in Wyandotte County, Kansas. This research material is the central subject matter for his art."

His masterpiece is a sculpture group titled "The Exodus Family", which was described as such: "This multi-piece sculptural work was created by artist Edward Hogan to honor the slaves that attempted to cross the West Bottoms area to cross the river to the "free state" of Kansas and a new beginning. He used scrap metal and welded it together to represent the slave family unit where though not necessarily blood-related, groups formed families in order to survive. The scrap representation also extends to the nature of survival where the people and families found scraps of clothing and equipment and scraps of food along their long and arduous journey to freedom from the South and along the Lewis & Clark Trail.

There are four figures, a father, mother, son and daughter. Each figure ranges in height from five to seven feet tall. When the surrounding plants and grasses are high and getting a little wild, you can get the complete illusion of the family working their way slowly and hopefully undetected through tall grass towards the river. On the other hand, when the surrounding plants have been tended to or it is winter, you can see just how exposed these people were to detection and how dangerous it was for them to make this journey.

There are interpretive plaques around the sculpture, including one for each figure, telling the story of each figure. There is also a plaque about the artist and another one describing the West Bottoms Incident where a number of escaping slaves were ambushed and how many of those that did escape wound up perishing in the water at the confluence of the Kaw and Missouri Rivers.

'The Exodus Family' is located in the West Bottoms area of Kansas City underneath the elevated highways of Interstates 35 and 70. The small park known as Freedom Mall is part of the Kansas City Riverfront Heritage Trail system. Freedom Mall is located next to the Spirit Mall, also of the same trail system, which is the location of a red Santa Fe Railroad caboose".

Edward Hogan died on November 21, 2013 in Kansas City, Kansas.