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LeRoy Winbush

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Information about LeRoy Winbush

Profile image of LeRoy Winbush

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Graphic Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Mustard)
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/7/1915
Birth Location:
Memphis, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Graphic Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Greens (Mustard)
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/7/1915
Birth Location:
Memphis
See how LeRoy Winbush is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Renaissance man LeRoy Winbush was born on December 7, 1915, in Memphis, Tennessee. His many accomplishments include founding his own graphic design business and creating a name for himself as a scuba diver as well as a bowler and skier.

At age five, Winbush moved with his father to Detroit, Michigan, after his parents separated. He moved to Chicago at age fourteen and attended Englewood High School. He performed with a singing trio called the Melody Mixers, which gained attention through engagements at clubs and hotels as well as on CBS and NBC radio stations. After graduating from high school in 1936, Winbush worked at a sign shop as an apprentice. The Regal Theatre hired him in 1938 to design and paint the theater front. Then, he designed signs and displays as the only African American employee at Goldblatt's Department Store and eventually became their art director. In the 1940s, Winbush revolutionized the window displays of banks and earned a reputation as one of the country's top airbrush artists. He also worked as art director at Johnson Publishing Company for a decade, where he helped to create the first issue of Ebony. He then founded Winbush Designs in 1946.

After a solid career as a pioneering graphic designer, Winbush tackled a new challenge at age forty-eight: he learned how to swim at Chicago's Lawson YMCA. He enjoyed it so much that he studied scuba diving, qualifying for Lawson's 20 Fathom Club in 1966. He served as the club's president from 1968 to 1983. Winbush has led underwater expeditions all over the world, including the Red Sea, Dutch West Indies and Jamaica. He combines his love for diving and designing as an underwater photographer and has created oceanic exhibits in Florida's Epcot Center as well as Hong Kong's Ocean Park Museum. Winbush began ice diving in 1973.

Winbush has held many prestigious posts. He was the director of design for the Illinois Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1967 and served as vice president of Our World Underwater, an annual seminar in Chicago, for seventeen years. He has been a design consultant for the DuSable Museum since 1992. Without having attended college or any art schools, Winbush became an assistant professor in visual communications at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently writing his autobiography.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of LeRoy Winbush interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush recalls memories from his youth in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush discusses growing up in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - LeRoy recounts his early education in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - LeRoy Winbush discusses his early experiences in art
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush talks about the demographics of his high school and environs
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush remembers his position as an apprentice with a sign shop
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush recalls his relationship with Charles White
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush gives an overview of his career as a sign painter
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush explains the application of gold leaf
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his transition into the role of art director
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his career path to Goldblatt's
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush remembers nearly being drafted into the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush names various jobs he held
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush explains his career with the Johnson Publishing company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush describes his duties with Johnson Publishing Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush names coworkers at Johnson Publishing Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - LeRoy Winbush talks about bringing his advertising ability to the banking industry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - LeRoy Winbush comments on how he built his client base
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - LeRoy Winbush discusses his connections to Chicago's art community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his experiences with music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush remembers his marriages
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush looks back on his past and discusses future plans
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush recalls experiences with the Art Directors Club of Chicago
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush explains the various directions in which his career has taken him
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - LeRoy Winbush details his introduction to and successes in scuba diving
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - LeRoy Winbush discusses his involvement with Our World Underwater
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - LeRoy Winbush talks about encountering a shark
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - LeRoy Winbush comments on his movie cameo
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - LeRoy Winbush explains New Year's Day dives
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush talks about some of his hobbies
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush considers his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush discusses the relationship between black design organizations and white agencies
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush ponders how he'd like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush comments on his family's views of his success
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - LeRoy Winbush shares his thoughts on The HistoryMakers project