Historical Ammolet: Nancy Prophet, negotiating love & business

Nancy Prophet Sculpting

AMMOLET IN HISTORY is a series that highlights the intersection of Black womanhood in history. We like to use the stories of the past to help inspire our presents and our futures. We recognize that each woman has a unique story to tell. AMMOLET's mission is to spread the radiant experiences of Black Women Innovators. 


Nancy Prophet is the unsung chorus of a somber gospel number. While she is of historical art importance, still very little is known of her personal life and journey as a successful Black artist.

At the age of 24, Prophet made history and enrolled, as the first Black student, in the Rhode Island School of Design for painting and free hand drawing. While an undergrad, Prophet later met and married Francis Ford, a  They were married for 17 years, with no children, and what remains unknown is the true essence of their relationship. What did Black love look like, and how does love impact an entrepreneurial Black woman on her journey of wealth creation and success?

The Negro Head, Sculpture by Nancy Prophet

Prophet's expertise was in sculpting and painting, so it's no surprise that one of her most famous pieces is a bust she carved out using her former husband's image. According to the RISD Museum, the use of the dark hardwood and the detailed etches of the sculpted bust represent her "determination and aggressiveness" as an artist, as a creator, a Black woman, and ultimately as a lover. We find the Negro Head bust particularly interesting because it reveals an aspect of womanhood and entrepreneurship rarely discussed: love.

As Women, How Do We Negotiate Love & Business? 

Love and business should never be a negotiation. Love, a balancing act of feelings and intentions, is a key element for making any business meaningful and successful. We like that Prophet literally profited from her experience with love by depicting it in a sculpture, which subsequently became the main art piece that notarizes her artwork.  If we treated our businesses and entrepreneurial endeavors like vignettes of our love, and intention, we might be able to worry less about the relationships we are forming, so long as they are rooted in attracting people with the same lovely intentional vibration. While Prophet is said to have lived in poverty after her professorship at Spelman College, we find her story rich in inspiration for how to turn our unfavorable experiences into profitable statements.