A Fine Artist — Samson L. Freedman

leedsMS_nameOn February 1, 1971, at Morris E. Leeds School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Teacher Samson L. Freedman, 56, was having a normal day. The art teacher had wrapped up his grading and was heading home on that sunny, but brisk Monday afternoon.  As Freedman left the building he was ambushed from behind by a 14 year old student that Freedman had suspended earlier in the day for cursing in the hallway. The student gave no warning before firing a .45-caliber gun at the back of Freedman’s head. His death was instantaneous. His 25 year career ended with an execution style shooting which he never saw coming. Freedman was a gentle, unassuming man who wrote comments in pencil on the bottoms of the ceramic sculptures that his students made. He was a strong, respected voice in the community, a beloved teacher, and a fine artist.

To help honor Samson L. Freedman


2 thoughts on “A Fine Artist — Samson L. Freedman

  1. I was a substitute teacher at Leeds in November 1971, so, unfortunately, I never got to meet Mr. Freedman. I left Philadelphia in 1973. What ever happened to the boy who shot him?

  2. My name is Juanita Rainey and I won the Samson L Freedman award at Leeds in 1982. Going through some old things in my home I found the plaque given to me back then and wondered if I googled his name what would I find. I was amazed to learn the story of Mr Freedman, which I never knew. I am honored to have received that award, and knowing more now the man and the story behind it makes me even more eager to continue to honor him and his name. Ironically, although I have been a nurse for 28 years, the past 4 years I have transitioned into an educator. This makes me all the more aware that where I am going is where I should be.

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