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Jefferson Eugene Grigsby

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Information about Jefferson Eugene Grigsby

Profile image of Jefferson Eugene Grigsby

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Fine Artist
Art Professor
High School Art Teacher

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Shrimp, Salmon
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Phoenix, Arizona
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/17/1918
Birth Location:
Greensboro, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Fine Artist
Art Professor
High School Art Teacher

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Shrimp, Salmon
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Phoenix, Arizona
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/17/1918
Birth Location:
Greensboro
See how Jefferson Eugene Grigsby is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Art professor, fine artist, and high school art teacher Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, Jr. was born on October 17, 1918, in Greensboro, North Carolina, to Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, Sr. and Perry Lyon Dixon. Grigsby first discovered his love for art after his family moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when he was nine years old. In 1933, Grigsby attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Within a year, Grigsby transferred to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he first met his long time mentor, Hale Woodruff. Grigsby graduated from Morehouse College in 1938, with B.A. degree and because of Woodruff, he was equipped with extensive artistic experience that he would retain throughout his life. Grigsby went on to obtain his M.A. degree in art (1940) from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. degree from New York University (1963).


In 1942, Grigsby volunteered to serve in World War II and became a master sergeant of the 573rd Ordinance Ammunition Company under U.S. Army General George Patton during the Battle of the Bulge. In 1943, Grigsby married Rosalyn Thomasena Marshall, a high school biology teacher and social activist. Three years later, at the invitation of the school’s principal, W.A. Robinson, Grigsby began working at Carver High School as an art teacher. After the closing of the school in 1954, Grigsby began working at Phoenix Union High School where he remained until 1966.

In 1958, Grigsby was selected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to represent the United States as an art teacher at the Children’s Creative Center at the Brussels World Fair in Belgium. This experience inspired Grigsby to initiate a number of art programs in community centers, housing projects and day care centers in the Phoenix area.

Grigsby began teaching at the university level in 1966, working at the School of Art at Arizona State University until 1988. During this time, Grigsby published "Art and Ethics: Background for Teaching Youth in a Pluralistic Society," the first book ever written for art teachers by an African American artist and author.

In 2001, "The Art of Eugene Grigsby Jr.: A 65 Year Retrospective" was featured at the Phoenix Art Museum. The exhibition featured insightful commentary of Grigsby’s life and influence on the art and education world by his many colleagues, friends and family.

Grigsby served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the National Art Education Association, the Committee on Minority Concerns and Artists of the Black Community/Arizona. Grigsby has also been awarded numerous times for his outstanding work, including the Arizona Governor’s “Tostenrud” Art Award and the NAACP’s Man of the Year Award.

Grigsby lives with his wife in their Phoenix home. They have two sons, Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, III and Marshall Grigsby, who both have been recognized as educators.

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 11, 2007.

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby passed away on June 9, 2013.

See how Jefferson Eugene Grigsby is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jefferson Eugene Grigsby's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his mother's personality and upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his father's upbringing and career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his home life
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his grade school experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the community of Prairie View, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his introduction to painting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers the Second Ward High School in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art classes at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers moving to New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about the Works Progress Administration
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his introduction to New York City's arts community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Langston Hughes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers New York City's Harlem community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art residency at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls joining the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his promotions in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers organizing a U.S. Army band
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his deployment to Europe during World War II
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls mounting theater productions while serving in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his marriage and the start of his teaching career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers George Washington Carver High School in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art students at George Washington Carver High School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls the closure of George Washington Carver High School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls teaching at Phoenix Union High School in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers travelling internationally as an artist
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes L'Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts in France
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers his transition to teaching
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his colleagues at George Washington Carver High School in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his adjustment to Phoenix Union High School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his wife's career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Expo 58 in Belgium
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls the African American expatriates at Expo 58
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers traveling in Europe with his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls returning home from Belgium
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his honorary doctorate in fine art
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls joining the faculty of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his accomplishments as an art professor
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers interviewing African American artists
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his work with the National Art Education Association
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his research on African art traditions
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls curating an African art exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls curating an African art exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the black community's support of the Heard Museum
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his final years at Arizona State University
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby reflects upon the role of art competitions
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the Consortium of Black Organizations and Others for the Arts
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his retirement from Arizona State University
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his artistic style and influences
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about aspiring African American artists
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about commercialism in art
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby reflects upon his role in the African American community
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby narrates his photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers artist Grace Hampton