Curator and historian of African-American art; first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in art history. Lewis was a student at Dillard University in New Orleans, LA, and began her art career there under the tutelage of African-American sculptor and printmaker, Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012). At one of her instructor's suggestions, Lewis transferred to Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Virginia, where she earned her B.A. in art history in 1945. Lewis completed her graduate studies at Ohio State University, earning her M.A. degree in 1948.