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Alvia Wardlaw

Art historian and curator Alvia J. Wardlaw was born on November 5, 1947 to Virginia Cage and Alvin Wardlaw. She was raised in Houston, Texas and graduated from Jack Yates High School in 1965. Wardlaw earned her B.A. degree in art history from Wellesley College in 1969, and her M.A. degree in art history from New York University in 1986. In 1996, she became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. degree in art history from the University of Texas at Austin.

From 1972 to 1974, Wardlaw worked as a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH). In 1974, she was promoted to associate curator of primitive art and education and was also hired as an adjunct professor at Texas Southern University, where she went on to serve as assistant and associate professor of art history. From 1973 to 1989, Wardlaw curated a number of exhibitions at various institutions, including African Tribal Art (1973); Roy DeCarava: Photographs (1975); Ceremonies and Visions: The Art of John Biggers (1980); Homecoming: African American Family History in Georgia (1982); John Biggers: Bridges (1986); and the 1989 watershed exhibition Black Art Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African American Art for the Dallas Museum of Art. She subsequently served as an adjunct curator of African American art at the Dallas Museum, and, in 1995, was named curator of modern and contemporary art for the MFAH. Wardlaw went on to organize The Art of John Biggers: View from the Upper Room (1995); The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (2002); Something All Our Own: The Grant Hill Collection of African American Art (2003); and Notes from a Child’s Odyssey: The Art of Kermit Oliver (2005). Wardlaw also became director/curator of the University Museum at Texas Southern University, and continued to work as curator of modern and contemporary art at the MFAH until 2009, when she retired from her position.

Wardlaw has received numerous honors and awards. She was a Fulbright Fellow in West Africa in 1984, won a Fulbright Award for study in Tanzania, East Africa in 1997, was a Senior Fellow for the 2001 American Leadership Forum, and was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1994. She also received the Award of Merit from the University of Texas at Austin and the Ethos Founders Award from Wellesley College, was recognized as an African American Living Legend by African American News and Issues, and was named Texas Southern University’s Research Scholar of the Year in 2009. In addition, Black Art Ancestral Legacy was named Best Exhibition of 1990 by D Magazine, and The Quilts of Gee’s Bend received the International Association of Art Critics Award in 2003.

Wardlaw has served on the Advisory Boards of the National Black Arts Festival and Hampton University, as well as the Scholarly Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture. She was also a co-founder of the National Alliance of African and African American Art Support groups in 1998.

Wardlaw lives in Houston, Texas.

Alvia Wardlaw was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 7, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.155

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/7/2014 |and| 12/3/2016

Last Name

Wardlaw

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Schools

Jack Yates High School

Wellesley College

New York University

University of Texas at Austin

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alvia

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

WAR18

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any where near water, Tanzania

Favorite Quote

Peace, love and adventures every day.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

11/5/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ethiopian

Short Description

Art history professor and curator Alvia Wardlaw (1947 - ) is professor of art history and director/curator of the University Museum at Texas Southern University. She served as the curator of modern and contemporary art for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from 1995 to 2009, and has curated the award-winning exhibits, Black Art Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African American Art and The Quilts of Gee’s Bend.

Employment

Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

Texas Southern University

Dallas Museum of Art

University Museum at Texas Southern University

Favorite Color

No, that changes from orange to blue

The Honorable Vanessa D. Gilmore

United States District Judge Vanessa Gilmore was born in October of 1956 in St. Albans, New York. In 1977, Gilmore received her B.A. degree in textiles and marketing from Hampton University, and in 1981, she earned her J.D. degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

Upon graduation, Gilmore began a thirteen-year career at the Houston law firm of Vickery, Kilbride, Gilmore & Vickery, where she specialized in civil litigation. In 1984, she was also hired as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston College of Law. Under Texas Governor Ann Richards, Gilmore became the first African American to be appointed to the Texas Department of Commerce Policy Board. She served as chairperson of that board until 1994, when President Bill Clinton appointed her as a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. At the time, Gilmore was the youngest sitting federal judge in the United States. In 2005, she presided over the high-profile Enron Broadband trial.

In 2008, Gilmore published her first book, A Boy Named Rocky: A Coloring Book for the Children of Incarcerated Parents, and has become a frequent speaker on issues related to these children and their families. In 2010, she released You Can’t Make This Up: Tales from a Judicial Diva, a humorous look at her life on and off the bench. Her next book, a fiction novel entitled Saving The Dream, was published in 2012. In 2014, she released Lynn’s Angels: The True Story of E. Lynn Harris and the Women Who Loved Him.

Gilmore is a sought after lecturer and speaker and has published noteworthy opinions on patients’ rights, the first amendment and copyright and patent law. She has served on the boards and advisory boards of a number of charitable organizations including the Houston Zoo, San Jacinto Girl Scouts, Spaulding for Children and Habitat for Humanity. Gilmore also serves on the board of trustees for Hampton University and on the board of Inprint, a literary arts organization. She is the recipient of numerous civic awards for community service and is a member of the Links, Inc. and Jack & Jill of America, Houston Chapter.

Gilmore lives in Houston, Texas with her son.

Vanessa Gilmore was interviewed byThe HistoryMakers on May 6, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.131

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/6/2014

Last Name

Gilmore

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Diane

Schools

Hampton University

University of Houston

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Vanessa

Birth City, State, Country

St. Albans

HM ID

GIL09

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Speaker Bureau Notes

Judge Gilmore would like to address audiences about incarcerated parents, adoption, legal issues, or pursuing a judicial career.

State

New York

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/26/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Short Description

Federal district court judge The Honorable Vanessa D. Gilmore (1956 - ) was appointed to serve as a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in 1994, becoming the youngest federal judge in the United States at the time. She was the author of four books: A Boy Named Rocky: A Coloring Book for the Children of Incarcerated Parents; You Can’t Make This Up: Tales from a Judicial Diva; Saving The Dream; and Lynn’s Angels: The True Story of E. Lynn Harris and the Women Who Loved Him.

Employment

Vickery, Kilbride, Gilmore & Vickery

University of Houston College of Law

United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas