Lorenzo Pace

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Lorenzo Pace (born September 29, 1943 in Birmingham) is an artist, and the author and illustrator of the acclaimed children's book Jalani and the Lock, the story of his great-grandfather Steve Pace's passage to the United States from Africa. The "lock" of the title is the shackle that bound his ancestor during his passage. It was presented to him at his father's funeral.

Born in Birmingham to Bishop Elder Eddie Pace of the Church of God in Christ, Lorenzo attended South Pratt Elementary School and spent one year at Western-Olin High School before moving, first to Paris, France, then to Chicago, Illinois. While in Chicago he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Fine Arts. He went on to earn a Doctoral degree in Art Education and Administration from Illinois State University (1978) and is now the director of the Montclair State University art galleries in New Jersey. He also maintains a studio in Brooklyn, New York.

Pace was commissioned in 1993 to create a monument for Foley Square in New York City, paying homage to over 400 African slaves whose remains were found in a burial site that was discovered by crews excavating for a Federal building in New York's financial district. His $18 million, 60 foot tall, 300 ton black granite sculpture, Triumph of the Human Spirit was the result of ten years of work on the commission. The form is inspired by a "Chi Wara", a type of headdress worn by the Bambara people in Mali. Buried inside the monument is a replica of the lock passed down from his great-grandfather. Pace and other African Americans decided to boycott the unveiling ceremony because it was held on Columbus Day.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute owns a collection of original artwork and research materials from Jalani and the Lock and Triumph of the Human Spirit.


  • Pace, Lorenzo (January 2001). Jalani and the Lock. New York. PowerKids Press. ISBN 0823997006


  • "Arts Scene - Lorenzo Pace sculpture to commemorate those buried in New York City's African Burial Ground" (April, 2000) American Visions.

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