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Thelma Golden

Museum director and curator Thelma Golden was born on September 22, 1965 in Queens, New York. In 1983, she graduated from the New Lincoln School, where she trained as a curatorial apprentice at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in her senior year. In 1987, she earned her B.A. degree in art history and African American studies from Smith College.

Golden worked first as a curatorial intern at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1987, then as a curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. From 1989 to 1991, she worked as the visual arts director for the Jamaica Arts Center in Queens, New York, where she curated eight shows. Golden was then appointed branch director of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Philip Morris branch in 1991 and curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1996. While at the Whitney, she organized numerous groundbreaking exhibitions, including the 1993 Whitney Biennial and 1994’s Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art. She also organized Bob Thompson: A Retrospective (1998), Heart, Mind, Body, Soul: New Work from the Collection (1998), and Hindsight: Recent Work from the Permanent Collection (1999). Golden also presented projects by artists Alison Saar, Glenn Ligon, Gary Simmons, Romare Bearden, Matthew McCaslin, Suzanne McClelland, Lorna Simpson, Jacob Lawrence, and Leone & MacDonald. She also worked as the special projects curator for contemporary art collectors Peter Norton and Eileen Harris Norton from 1998 to 2000. Golden returned to the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2000, where she was named deputy director for exhibitions and programs, and director and chief curator in 2005. Golden organized numerous exhibitions at the Studio Museum, including Isaac Julien: Vagabondia (2000); Martin Puryear: The Cane Project (2000); Glenn Ligon: Stranger (2001); Freestyle (2001); Black Romantic: The Figurative Impulse in Contemporary Art (2002); harlemworld: Metropolis as Metaphor (2004); Chris Ofili: Afro Muses (2005); Frequency (2005–2006); Africa Comics (2006–2007); and Kori Newkirk: 1997–2007 (2007–2008). Golden also lectured at several institutions, including Columbia University, Yale University, and the Royal College of Art in London. In addition, she contributed essays about Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Bill T. Jones, Kara Walker, and Glenn Ligon to various publications.

Golden received honorary degrees from Moore College of Art and Design, Smith College, and the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2008, she was a member of the advisory team of the Whitney Biennial; and in 2007, a juror for the UK Turner Prize. Golden served on the graduate committee for Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies, and on the boards of Creative Time in New York and the Institute of International Visual Arts in London. In 2016, she was awarded the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence.

Golden is married to London fashion designer Duro Olowu.

Thelma Golden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 9, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.006

Sex

Female

Interview Date

08/09/2016

Last Name

Golden

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ann

Schools

Buckley Country Day School

New Lincoln School

Smith College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Thelma

Birth City, State, Country

St. Albans, Queens

HM ID

GOL04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Fantastic

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/22/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mangoes

Short Description

Museum director and curator Thelma Golden (1965 - ) became the director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2005, having served as a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the 1990s.

Employment

Studio Museum in Harlem

Whitney Museum of American Art - Phillip Morris Branch

Peter Norton and Eileen Harris Norton

Jamaica Arts Center

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thelma Golden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden describes her father's family background, pt. 3

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden talks about her father's parenting style

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden recalls how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thelma Golden describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden describes her mother as a young adult

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden talks about the closeness of her mother's immediate family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden describes her neighborhood in St. Albans in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden recalls the way in which she and her brother were raised

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden describes her mother's parenting style

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden remembers the relationship between her mother and paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thelma Golden talks about the black Presbyterian Church

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden talks about her parents' social and political ideologies

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden describes her experiences at Buckley Country Day School in Roslyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden describes the Buckley Country Day School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden talks about her favorite subjects

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden describes the films 'Mahogany' and 'The Wiz'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden recalls her early interest in art history

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden describes the New Lincoln School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden talks about her exposure to the art world in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thelma Golden describes her experiences at the New Lincoln School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden describes her decision to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden remembers her professor, Walter Morris-Hale, at Smith College

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden recalls her internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden describes her relationship with James Baldwin

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden talks about James Baldwin's influence in her life

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden recalls her summer retail jobs

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden describes her curatorial fellowship at the Studio Museum in Harlem, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden describes her curatorial fellowship at the Studio Museum in Harlem, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden remembers Harlem, New York in the 1980s and 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden recalls her interview at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden describes her role at the Whitney Museum of American Art, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden describes her role at the Whitney Museum of American Art, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden talks about the role of curators

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden recalls working with Kellie Jones at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden describes the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden remembers the artists exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden describes her relationship with Raymond J. McGuire

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden recalls working at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden recalls her role as associate curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden describes the retrospective exhibition of Bob Thompson's work

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden remembers the work of Lowery Stokes Sims

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden describes the ideas and influences of 'Black Male'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden remembers the public response to her exhibition, 'Black Male'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden recalls her parents' reactions to 'Black Male,' pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden recalls her parents' reactions to 'Black Male,' pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden remembers her colleagues' support of 'Black Male'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden remembers the media's critique to 'Black Male'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden talks about the importance of the 'Black Male' exhibition

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden remembers her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden recalls working with Lowery Stokes Sims at the Studio Museum in Harlem, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden recalls working with Lowery Stokes Sims at the Studio Museum in Harlem, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden remembers the board members at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden talks about Lowery Stokes Sims' leadership at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden describes the 'Freestyle' exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden recalls meeting artist Mark Bradford

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden remembers her relationship with artist Glenn Ligon

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden describes her relationship with artist Lorna Simpson

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden talks about her working relationship with artists

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden describes the exhibitions and programs at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden talks about the space of the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden recalls her transition to director of the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden describes her role as director of the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden remembers her art mentors, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden remembers her art mentors, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden describes her fundraising responsibilities

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden talks about presence of the Studio Museum in Harlem in the community

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden reflects upon her accomplishments at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden talks about the proposed expansion to the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden talks about her goals for the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden describes the post-black art movement, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden describes the post-black art movement, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden reflects upon the art world during the 2016 Presidential Election

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden describes how she met her husband, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Thelma Golden describes how she met her husband, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden talks about her long-distance marriage, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden talks about her long-distance marriage, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden describes her husband's cultural background

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden talks about her fellowship at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden describes her work with the Obama Administration, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden describes her work with the Obama Administration, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden remembers attending President Barack Obama's state dinner

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Thelma Golden describes Peggy Cooper Cafritz

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Thelma Golden talks about her relationships with women in the art world

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden talks about her maternal figures

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Thelma Golden reflects upon the work of Maya Angelou

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Thelma Golden shares her goals for the future

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Thelma Golden describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Thelma Golden reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Thelma Golden narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Thelma Golden narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Thelma Golden narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$10

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Thelma Golden describes her decision to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts
Thelma Golden reflects upon the art world during the 2016 Presidential Election
Transcript
--How did you end up choosing Smith [Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts]?$$I ended up at Smith because of Verne Oliver. When it came time to think about colleges, as head of school, we had a guidance counsellor, but as head of school, she also worked with the senior class, right, to ensure that every student was looking at the best range of possibilities for them. And I remember I did not necessarily have a distinct interest in women's colleges per se; I knew I wanted to go to a small school and it felt like the counsellor gave me the whole realm of some of the best small liberal arts schools on the East Coast, and so my sense of myself was, well, great; I'll apply to all of these schools. But I imagined that I would end up in a coed school, small coed liberal arts school. I knew I already wanted to major in art history, I knew I wanted to work in a museum, but I also saw college as something else besides just getting on my career track. I was excited about the possibility of leaving home and of meeting new friends, and so I just thought that college experience would be like the experience that I'd seen on TV. And Verne, in a way, Verne was very direct and stern about things. She said to me, "You are going to apply to several women's colleges." And I said, "Why?" And she says, "Because that's how the world is, and I want you to go to a women's," (background noise) sorry. I'll start that over. I, Verne was very adamant that I look at women's colleges and, you know, Verne Oliver was an educator who believed also in education; like she believed that education is what made us who we are, and believed deeply in college as not just a conveyor belt to career, but to, again, this ability to deeply dive into an academic study that one could have with them, right, their whole life, no matter what they did. And so Verne was the one who said, "You are gonna apply to women's colleges." And I remember Verne giving me the most sophisticated analysis of gender and race politics in America as she saw it, and end of that lecture ended up that she felt a woman's college would give me things that I would not get anywhere else, that she felt would be critical to my ability to actualize a life full of possibility and opportunity. And I believed her in a way, and so applied; in the end decided not to go to Smith, and sent a deposit to a coed liberal arts school that I won't name, that I went to visit, and when I was visiting this coed liberal arts, very good school that had a, a student body all proud to go there, I met a young man at that school who, so proud of his school and so, did, believed deeply, right, in its pull, said to me, "Oh, my girlfriend goes to Smith; you should meet her." And so in the weekend, it was that discovery weekend that, where after you decide where you're going you go up there, I met this young woman, and she was amazing. I mean I had never met a woman my age who had as much determination, as much focus, as much poise, I mean the first thing when I saw her, I thought, my mother [Thelma Eastmond Golden] would love her. While everyone else was at this college party, kind of, you know, in whatever they were in, she commanded space in the room, and she very calmly kind of said to me, "You know, it's great you're here; this is a great school, but did you apply to Smith?" And I said, "Yes, and I got in." I said, "But you know, I just don't know, a single sex school; I, you know, maybe I should go to a coed school." And she says, "I think you're wrong." And she gave me her phone number; she said, "Call me, let's talk," you know, "when you get home." Well, by the time I get home, and this is how the world is, it turned out her father was a very well known elected official in New York State who, when she said, "You know, I met this young woman, this is her name." He said, "Oh, that must be," again, "Artie Golden's [Arthur Golden, Sr.] daughter." And he called my dad, and she and I had spoken, and at that point my parents called Smith and said, "Listen," you know, "she made this decision, she'd like to perhaps change her decision." It was still within the timing, so I wasn't out of time, but it was more that it felt like we were done. And Smith, of course, said, "Of course you can come." And the only thing that happened is we lost the deposit for the first school. And years later, that school invited me to do a lecture and they paid me a very generous honorarium, and I was so proud of that and I told my father, and about a week later he said, "Okay, you know whose money that is." He goes, "That's my deposit with interest," you know, twenty years later (laughter). But, I then knew, I knew Smith was right. I knew it was right; I knew when I visited, but I just had a little bit of anxiety about what I imagined I wanted. It's the thing I tell now young women who are looking at Smith, that that anxiety, in the course of one's life, is so small compared to all you gain in these four years in an environment that is truly invested in you. And what it means to be in an environment with all these young women, your peers, who have an equal sense of themself was inspiring every single day. That's how it felt to be at Smith, it was inspiring every day. So that's how I got to Smith. Verne was thrilled. I mean this was sort of her choice, and I'd applied to several other women's colleges. My parents were thrilled because it was a decision they thought I was happy with, and I went off to Smith and spent four amazing years there.$What do you think about your, the concept in the days, 'cause I think really, a lot of us are fearful of the times, well, I don't know, amazed and sort of fearful of what hap- you know, what, you know, between, I'm talking about, I don't even wanna talk about him, but between Trump [President Donald John Trump] and, you know, what is sort of--$$Yeah.$$--fermenting in society right now, and, and so I was wondering what your thoughts are, or do you see beyond that.$$Well, I have always felt that I see the world through art; I see the world through art in amazing moments in the world, but I also see the world through art in hard, complicated moments. So I, right now, am deeply engaged in the work that's being made, for example, photographically, by young photographers and photojournalists who are on the front lines of the protests going on all over this country, right, in the face of all the violence that's happening, the racial violence and the violence that's happening because of the racial violence. I understand what I understand about some of that through their eyes, and through the way in which they are documenting and then capturing it, some of them not even with the idea that it's art with a big A, but it is art to me, and I'm intrigued. I know that's what will be the record of what people who will know about this moment, this complicated, awful moment, will know about it a hundred years from now; it's gonna come, right, in that work. And as a curator, I actually have the added responsibility, in some cases, of collecting that work to make sure that somebody has the opportunity to see it. So, right now, I look at what's going on by looking at the ways in which artists are responding. It always isn't direct, however. Do you know what I, like it isn't always direct; there aren't always direct manifestations in the very moment by artists; that, that's not what I mean to say, what I mean to say, however, is that art reacts to the world it's in; art reacts to the world it's in, so being someone in the world of art means that I have a way to understand some of the complexity of what's happening in the world.

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

Nicole Smith

Curator Nicole Smith was born in the Republic of Haiti. In 1971, she began her career as a curator at the Centre d’art in Port-au Prince, Haiti. In search of new adventures, Smith moved to the United States in 1973.

At first, she sold Haitian work from her home and automobile before opening the Nicole Gallery in 1986. Smith was instrumental in bringing Shona stone sculpture from Zimbabwe into prominence and the Nicole Gallery maintained one of the most comprehensive collections of Shona sculpture in the United States. The gallery came to represent one of the finest collections of world renowned Haitian, African and African African artists. With many of these artists, Smith represented them and fostered their careers including Nigerian artists such as N’Namdi Okonkwo and the Haitian artist Franck Louissaint. Smith also championed the careers of Chicago Artists Allen Stringfellow and George Carter. In 1988, Smith began working with the Haitian artist Fritz Millevoix who had just moved to the United States. She helped bring his brilliantly colorful and dreamlike paintings of villages to prominence. In 2005, she curated an exhibit of Fritz Millevoix paintings at the Daley Civic Center in cooperation with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs. In 2010, after the Haiti earthquake, Smith organized a fundraiser at the Nicole Gallery to benefit displaced artists who were affiliated with the Centre d’Art and also to rebuild the center itself. Also in 2010, the Nicole Gallery featured the work of Afro-Carribean influence artists Alexandra Barbot and the microscopic sculptor Willard Wignan. The Nicole Gallery closed in 2011 after celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary.

Throughout her career, Smith has been celebrated for her dedication to Haitian, African and African American art. In 2002, she was featured on the cover of Chicago Gallery News. Smith was honored by the Chicago Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 2009 and in 2010, she was named a Chicago Defender Woman of Excellence. Nicole Smith lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Nicole Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 2, 2012.

Nicole Smith passed away on March 29, 2016.

Accession Number

A2012.093

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/2/2012

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Ecole Anne-Marie Javouhey

Ecole Externat la Providence

Ecole Elie Dubois

Durham College of Commerce

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Nicole

HM ID

SMI24

Favorite Season

Early Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Shasta Springs, California

Favorite Quote

I Wish You A Victorious Day

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/8/1940

Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

Haiti

Favorite Food

Salad

Death Date

3/29/2016

Short Description

Curator Nicole Smith (1940 - 2016 ) founded the Nicole Gallery in 1973 which came to represent one of the finest collections of world renowned Haitian, African and African American artists.

Employment

Centre d'Art

Nicole Gallery

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:968,21:5368,114:9592,238:16370,288:20142,327:29080,434:46570,663:46958,668:57050,756:57533,766:57809,771:58568,783:63254,831:66818,847:69392,913:78527,1004:92380,1156:96769,1252:97308,1264:107314,1415:108718,1440:118234,1584:118858,1595:119716,1609:130642,1654:131512,1666:136342,1716:143376,1822:151880,1926:164162,2049:164750,2058:169538,2128:174158,2197:181856,2281:182480,2290:207640,2640:220951,2821:223871,2864:224163,2869:226645,2898:227229,2908:230510,2933$0,0:580,14:1685,32:19858,306:25006,369:25366,375:26302,394:112565,1399:194462,2381:195054,2390:195424,2396:213962,2522:274950,3253
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nicole Smith's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nicole Smith lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nicole Smith describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nicole Smith remembers her mother's storytelling

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nicole Smith describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nicole Smith talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nicole Smith describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nicole Smith lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nicole Smith describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Nicole Smith remembers moving from the mountains to the suburbs of Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Nicole Smith describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Nicole Smith recalls her early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Nicole Smith talks about the geography of Haiti

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nicole Smith talks about the history of Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nicole Smith describes her childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nicole Smith remembers her early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nicole Smith describes Les Soeurs de la Sagesse in Kenscoff, Haiti

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nicole Smith remembers learning about the Haitian Revolution

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nicole Smith recalls her early interests in art and history

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nicole Smith talks about Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nicole Smith talks about the emphasis on art in Haiti

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nicole Smith talks about Haiti's role in the American Revolution

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Nicole Smith talks about the history of the Louisiana Purchase

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Nicole Smith talks about the history of voodoo

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nicole Smith talks about Dutty Boukman's role in the Haitian Revolution

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nicole Smith recalls the start of her interest in Haitian Vodoun

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nicole Smith describes her experiences with Haitian Vodoun

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nicole Smith talks about the depictions of zombies in Haiti

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nicole Smith remembers her secondary education in Haiti

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nicole Smith talks about the activities she was involved in during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nicole Smith talks about her early experiences of color discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nicole Smith talks about her undiagnosed childhood illness

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Nicole Smith describes the education system in Haiti

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Nicole Smith talks about Haitian Creole

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Nicole Smith describes her family's political affiliations

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Nicole Smith remembers her college education in Haiti and Jamaica

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nicole Smith remembers the Durham College of Commerce in Kingston, Jamaica

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nicole Smith talks about Alix Pasquet's failed coup d'etat against Francois Duvalier

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nicole Smith describes the Citadelle Laferriere in Haiti

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nicole Smith remembers her older sister's influence on her career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nicole Smith talks about her career at Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nicole Smith recalls her start at Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nicole Smith remembers the artists at Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nicole Smith talks about Haitian tourist art

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Nicole Smith remembers her influences at Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Nicole Smith reflects upon her time at Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Nicole Smith describes the clientele of Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Nicole Smith talks about her decision to move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nicole Smith remembers immigrating to the United States from Haiti

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nicole Smith recalls her exhibition at the Aurelia Gallery in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nicole Smith talks about her art collection

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nicole Smith talks about the legacy of Jean Baptiste Point du Sable

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nicole Smith talks about working with Ramon Price and Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nicole Smith recalls meeting Katherine Dunham

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nicole Smith talks about the relationship between Haiti and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nicole Smith remembers founding the Nicole Gallery in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Nicole Smith talks about Paul Waggoner

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Nicole Smith talks about Eva-Maria Worthington

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Nicole Smith describes the first location of the Nicole Gallery

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Nicole Smith remembers relocating the Nicole Gallery

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Nicole Smith recalls meeting Nnamdi Okonkwo

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nicole Smith talks about her relationship with Allen Stringfellow

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nicole Smith reflects upon Allen Stringfellow's legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nicole Smith talks about Frank Louissaint

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nicole Smith talks about Henry Munyaradzi's sculptures

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nicole Smith remembers meeting Fritz Millevoix

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nicole Smith talks about Ify Ojo

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Nicole Smith talks about the qualities of a gallery curator

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Nicole Smith describes her artistic philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Nicole Smith talks about her art gallery locations

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Nicole Smith talks about the black gallerists in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Nicole Smith describes her hopes for the future of black art

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Nicole Smith shares a message to aspiring artists

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Nicole Smith talks about the importance of a painting's frame

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Nicole Smith talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Nicole Smith describes the Haitian art aesthetic

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Nicole Smith talks about her gallery's media coverage

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Nicole Smith describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Nicole Smith describes her concerns for the Haitian community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Nicole Smith reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Nicole Smith reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Nicole Smith talked about her friends and family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Nicole Smith describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$11

DATitle
Nicole Smith recalls her start at Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Nicole Smith describes the first location of the Nicole Gallery
Transcript
How did you find out that the job was open? Did, did she tell you, or how did--?$$Oh, my good god, I went to see Francine [Francine Murat]. I went to see her at the art center [Le Centre d'Art, Port-au-Prince, Haiti]. She said I've been asking you to--she called and she sent me letters asking me to come and help me. Well, I wanted to--you know, I didn't want to, to get involved too much because I wanted to come here. But well, I stayed two years with them. Francine knew (laughter)--saw me. She said, "Okay, today you are going to stay." It was a Friday. I said, "Okay, I will start Monday." She said, "No, you start today." Okay, the starting was really a part time job and all the training that I had. So Francine Mur- it was so good, I tell you. This is a very interesting part of my life. I loved the art center so much after that. The first day I arrived, you know, she said, "You staying?" "Okay," I said, "Okay, I am--I will come on Tuesday--Monday." She say, "No, you're staying today." I stayed by--it was nine o'clock. At 10:30 a young man came in, and he was an artist. I said, "My name is Nicole [HistoryMaker Nicole Smith]. What's your name?" He said, "My name is Nazaya [ph.]." I say, "Nazaya," he had a painting, I said, "Nazaya, what do you have?" He said, "A painting." I said, "Can I see it?" I saw that painting, and I fell in love. And I had some money on me. I put down a deposit on the painting. So, after that experience, okay, forget about the states, forget about everything else. Even though the coming to the states is in my mind, but the experience that I was having was so wonderful, okay. Francine made it a point of teaching me every day about the artist, about the techniques, about everything, about the history of the art center, and everything. And Pierre Monosiet would come and teach me how to select works from an artist, how to know what the artist will become, if this artist is going to a successful artist, or if you will paint a painting or two and stop there and will never be able to make it. And this was part of my life that I enjoyed the most because that helped me select works from artists in this country, artists from other places that I would not have been able to do if I had not had that training.$$Now had you had any previous experience in--$$Art?$$Yeah, as a--$$Yes, I had had (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) put- putting on exhibits--$$--previous experience--$$--exhibitions and--$$--in the school, in the school where Sister Philomena [ph.] said that I would never be an artist.$$But had you had any experiences putting up shows as a student in college or anything like that, or--$$Very little, very little. But the training that I got at the art center helped me to taught me; it taught me how to put up shows, to, to interview artists, to, to write things about the arts and so on. And then, when Francine was away, I was the person in charge of the art center.$Well, tell us about opening the gallery [Nicole Gallery] on West Huron [West Huron Street, Chicago, Illinois], or that--no--$$Oh, the gallery had been opened already.$$Okay.$$Yes, the gallery was open on Halsted--$$Oh, okay.$$--1723 North Halsted [Street].$$Okay.$$That was the first place.$$So that's the first place you opened.$$Um-hm.$$And, all right, well, tell us about that then. How did that, how'd you get--$$Oh, wow.$$Yeah.$$Everybody told me that I couldn't open an art gallery because I didn't have the money to do that. I said well, I think I'm going to open it anyway. Yes, I think I was very stubborn. For everybody said, "Nicole [HistoryMaker Nicole Smith], you don't open an art gallery without money." I said, "Well, but can you show me where I can get some money to open it?" Everybody said, "Well, go to SBA [U.S. Small Business Administration]." I went to SBA. SBA said, "We don't lend out money to artists." I said, "Well, so what do you want me to do, sir?" He said, "Well, you can wait until you get the money." I said, "If I wait, where do you think I will get it from?" He said, "I don't know, but you need at least a hundred thousand, a car, and the artworks." I said, "Well, I have the artworks. I don't have a car. And, and my dream is burning my hands." And then he said, "Well, don't say that I didn't tell you so." I said, "Sir, I, I'm not going to tell you that. I will tell you that it will be okay," and so I opened really. Ramon [Ramon Price] was my speaker at the first opening. And I had NAJWA Dance Corps. Didn't have room because I had that three story little home, but there were so many people attending that opening. People were in line to get in. And I don't know how they heard about it. Of course I had it, I had a press release, but it was so amazing. It was such a cold day in March, March 7, '86 [1986]. It was so cold. And so many people came in. My god, it was amazing, amazing.$$So, this is March 7th, 1986. So, so did business just take off immediately, or was it--$$No.$$Okay.$$It didn't take off immediately. I had to do some doing. I--oh, wow--I began having exhibitions. And then one day I had a, an artist, who was also a writer, by the name of Gabo [ph.]. Gabos came in and Gabo said, "I heard about the opening of your gallery. I am an artist. I am also a writer. Okay, I'd like to interview you for a newspaper." I am thinking about that newspaper, and that it's no longer in existence. It was one of those neighborhood newspapers that were very popular. And then you--he, he interviewed me, put it in there. And I had a lot of people coming.$$Okay.$$So I sold some art. But the first three months were amazingly difficult (laughter). And I, I didn't know if I had made the right decision.$$Now, at the time, were you living with your brother or were you--$$Oh no.$$No.$$Oh no. When I moved to the, the, in that little house, oh yeah, I had my room in the attic. I lived in the attic, and the fir- the two stories were my business, yep.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$So this is on Halsted, on--$$On Halsted.$$Okay--$$Oh, so many people loved that little place. And this--some of them still tell me, still say, "Nicole, I, I had loved that little place. It was so wonderful." It was wonderful really, yeah.

Bob Carter

Robert Carter is a New York illustrator, painter, and art professor. Carter was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 29, 1938 to Robert and Sarah Carter. He graduated from Central High School in 1955 with an interest and talent for art. Continuing his education he received his B.S. degree from the University of Louisville in 1959 and his M.F.A. degree from the prestigious Pratt Institute of Fine Arts two years later. His first job was as an artist for WHAS-TV in Louisville where he painted scenery before being used as a set designer, fabricator, and finally as a floor director.

Following his time at WHAS-TV, Carter began doing freelance work for several publishing companies including McGraw Hill, D.C. Heath (now known as Houghton Mifflin), and Simon & Schuster where his illustrations were featured in children’s books. Carter also started teaching at Nassau Community College in New York as a professor of art. He also lectured at public schools, universities, and private art organizations. In addition, Carter co-founded the National Drawing Association.

Carter’s art has been featured numerous times from Dallas to New York City. These include his exhibit “Carter Light” at Adelphi University and at the 1st Annual Harlem Fine Arts Show, both in 2010. In 2008, Carter was inducted as a legend into the Hall of Fame at Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Carter was also honored as an outstanding artist at the 10th Annual Celebration of Black Artists by the dedicators in New York. His website, Robert Carter Studio, created in 2006, acts as a portfolio for his work.

His wife, Panchita, is a fine art jeweler and together they have two daughters, Heather and Holly.

Robert Carter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 27, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.002

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/27/2010

Last Name

Carter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

G

Occupation
Schools

Harvey C. Russell Junior High School

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School

Louisville Central High School Magnet Career Academy

Paul Laurence Dunbar School

University of Louisville

Pratt Institute

School of Visual Arts

Parsons School of Design

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Organizations

First Name

Robert "Bob"

Birth City, State, Country

Louisville

HM ID

CAR19

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Kentucky

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

To Make A Long Story Short.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/29/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chili

Short Description

Art professor Bob Carter (1938 - ) cofounded the National Drawing Association, and taught at the Nassau Community College in New York.

Employment

WHAS-TV

Freelance

Nassau Community College

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:984,24:1394,35:1886,43:4180,78:5233,91:9364,282:9688,291:35130,465:36330,482:40180,522:40990,533:42240,538:47042,586:50790,591:53770,631:56505,665:58195,702:63070,802:64370,832:67035,879:72974,940:76622,1008:80174,1048:81998,1069:94034,1220:122060,1548:122995,1562:126225,1605:134550,1671:139548,1747:139852,1752:147756,1910:148972,1933:156310,1961:160971,2078:176822,2260:178063,2281:194832,2521:195048,2527:196398,2532:204280,2608:206380,2641:210842,2708:211247,2715:211895,2725:225620,2879:226335,2891:232612,2961:233992,2991:235855,3024:237373,3051:241390,3061:241698,3066:245476,3108:247982,3148:249061,3166:250223,3187:259187,3339:265890,3385:269570,3448:269970,3454:270290,3459:270770,3466:271090,3501:276160,3552$0,0:11661,224:12006,232:13317,267:13593,272:25786,473:60654,1009:77536,1186:91974,1394:104216,1691:119340,1867:138308,2127:139936,2179:160069,2528:164651,2625:165125,2633:165599,2640:170655,2778:173736,2844:182987,2969:184407,3001:186900,3024
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bob Carter's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bob Carter lists his favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bob Carter describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bob Carter describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bob Carter talks about his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bob Carter describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bob Carter describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bob Carter describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bob Carter talks about his father's education

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bob Carter talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bob Carter describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bob Carter describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bob Carter talks about his father's service in the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bob Carter recalls his father's start in the Louisville Metro Police Department

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bob Carter describes his father's career as a deputy coroner

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bob Carter talks about his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bob Carter recalls his early interest in art

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bob Carter describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bob Carter talks about his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bob Carter describes his early influences

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bob Carter talks about his activities at Louisville Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bob Carter recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bob Carter remembers his decision to attend the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bob Carter describes his mentors at the University of Louisville

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bob Carter talks about his experiences at the University of Louisville

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bob Carter remembers designing sets for WHAS-TV in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bob Carter remembers Sam Gilliam

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bob Carter recalls meeting celebrities at WHAS-TV in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bob Carter describes his experiences of hiring discrimination in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Bob Carter describes his master's thesis at the Pratt Institute in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bob Carter describes his involvement with the National Conference of Artists

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bob Carter talks about his work at the Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bob Carter remembers founding the National Drawing Association

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bob Carter describes his artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bob Carter talks about the use of neon signage in his artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bob Carter talks about the children in his artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bob Carter shares his perspective on the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bob Carter talks about his interest in academia and teaching

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bob Carter describes his artistic influences

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bob Carter reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bob Carter describes his artistic philosophy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bob Carter recalls his favorite paintings

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bob Carter remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bob Carter describes his current projects

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Bob Carter describes the changes in the fine arts

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Bob Carter reflects upon his experiences as an art teacher

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Bob Carter describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Bob Carter reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Bob Carter reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Bob Carter describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Bob Carter's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Bob Carter lists his favorites, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Bob Carter describes his mother's family background, pt. 3

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Bob Carter talks about his maternal grandfather

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Bob Carter narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Bob Carter describes his artwork
Bob Carter talks about his interest in academia and teaching
Transcript
Well tell us about your work. Now what is your, what do you like to work in, what kind of work are you constantly trying to do, and what is your philosophy of art? And we'll probably forget all those three, I have to come back and get them (laughter), but tell us something about your art work.$$Well, I've always been centered around a figure. Many of the figures are black images, but I was thinking about this just the other day, although I use black images, it's intended to speak to universals and very often, and because of that many would consider me an ethnic artist. And I feel almost offended when that term is used, when it's used improperly because ethnic implies there's a Eurocentric standard, and everything else is ethnic when we all are ethnic it's a question of which variety, of which particular. So I think that that's often misunderstood because of the fact that I use black as a vehicle I would like to think I'm speaking to, as I said the entirety. There's certain peculiarities that each ethnic group, each geographic group, each cultural group might have, and there are times I would respond to that. But usually the figures are my fo- I'll give you an example I did one painting that is called 'The Jazz Lesson' [ph.], and it's a painting of a grandfather teaching a grandson how to play the saxophone. Now it's inspired by Tanner [Henry Ossawa Tanner], 'A Banjo Lesson' [sic. 'The Banjo Lesson'], so though Tanner's painting and mine are using or employing black images as vehicles, the real theme is the, is the bridging of a generation gap, the grandfather passing on something to the, to the grandson. And for me, you know, if that connection could have been made with any eth- ethnic group. But, you know, like many, you know, I experimented here and there, but basically I find the figure as my vehicle to share certain ideas that are important to me. Sometimes it's social, sometimes it's political, depending on the moment and what I'm trying to, you know, to achieve. Basically the image philosophy--basically I feel that art is a communication process, and you're trying to make a connection, and I feel that whether it's musical--done musically or done through dance. And I'll listen to--for example I'm doing something now, if it works, 'cause whenever you're in the middle of a piece, you--it may not work, but Peggy Lee came out with a song called 'Is That All There Is?'. I don't know if that rings a, rings a bell.$$Oh, yeah, yeah.$$But it's a very--for me, it's a very, very special piece of music that gives you a sense of what life--makes you think about what life is about, if you remember some of the lyrics to it. And, so I say that to say that when I listen to music or go to a play and I'm really moved, my intent is boy, I want to move people like that so that's what I mean by communication. I feel that, those that aren't connecting are in some sort of therapeutic process, important but not necessarily connecting, and I think that whether it's dance or music or poetry and liter- there's a line between executor and the recipient, and I hope to make that, you know, very, very special. And the skills, the media is simply a manifestation of a ve- of a vehicle to make that statement. And as I, as I tell my students, you know, the--you mentioned, you asked me about color earlier, the color is simply one of the many facets of trying to convey the attitude. If the attitude would work better with green then, you know, you use green or whatever, whatever might be the--or media.$As a member of the education community, you're obliged to try to be in the middle so that the student is aware of the--that range. As an individual artist, again many of my images do use the black image because I feel that we're a part of the universe, and if I can show compassion, I can show it with a, with a black image as well as a white. So if I, if I, If I'm labeled ethnic, I think that's the bias of what ethnicity means--that's the bias that--of what ethnicity means to the spokesperson or to the person doing the speaking. In other words, if they're thinking of again Western Europe as the standard and I, and I feel that the universe is the standard, Western Union--Western Europe is simply a part of that standard.$$Right, right, yeah.$$That's--$$To define art as, you know, European art is art and then every--is universal art and then everything else is (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Exac- well, see and that's what I object to. As a matter of fact, I came when--during a time African art was considered folk art, ethnic art. What was the, what was the, there was another term, not tribal.$$Primitive art.$$Primitive, thank you, primitive and one of my close friends who was doing a doctorate at that time said--used to use those terms in in her doctoral training and I said, "Don't, that's not true, you know, it's just simply, it's another, another form, not directly controlled by Western, so called Western standard." And she changed, you know, not because we're friends. You know, it was one of those intellectual dialogues that paid off (laughter) and that's really what attracted me to college teach- teaching. I said this the other day because at this point I'm still there because I still find positive--every now and then a day comes up I say, "Why am I doing this," you know, because of some- something went that day, a meeting that you didn't want to go to or whatever, but my way of expressing what brought me to college teaching was it's great to argue about how many saints, no how many angels dance on the head of a pin which is a cli- kind of a cliche. If you're with good people you have, you can argue about that. You may never agree, but you can argue, you know, hopefully intelligently and with some sensitivity, and it's just a good arena for that. Some of the people that I know in, in the commercial art world doing, you know, well, graphic design, but I don't know a lot of, a lot of those people. One of my closest friends doing storyboard and cartooning and so forth, one of their problems is isolation. One of my very good friends, Stan Goldberg, who does Archie, Archie Comics [Archie Comic Publications, Inc.], don't call him if you're in a hurry 'cause he's going to talk to you for a half hour because he doesn't have conversation every day, you know, he's isolated. He takes his stuff to the publisher and goes back to the studio whereas the college community brings you into a community that, that, that offers the poss- the potential for dialogue.

Daniel Texidor Parker

Art curator, collector, professor and author, Daniel Texidor Parker was born on January 6, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago during the post-World War II period. His mother, Annie Lee Parker, sparked Parker’s interest in art by taking him to thrift shops, where she would purchase and restore various heirlooms. Parker attended DuSable High School. There, he took classes with Margaret Burroughs. A co-founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History, Burroughs was Parker’s high school art teacher. He credits her for demonstrating how African art is an extension of African culture, and African peoples across the Diaspora. Parker received his B.A. degree in education from what is now Chicago State University in 1964. He later received his M.A. degree in psychology from Roosevelt University in 1967.

Prior to becoming known for his collection and knowledge of African art, Parker worked as a counselor and educator in both the Chicago Public School and Chicago City College systems for 35 years. In 1989, Parker received a Distinguished Professor award from the board of the Chicago City College system for his work at Olive-Harvey College. Parker was also an advocate for African American teachers, professors and professionals in both systems. He retired from Olive-Harvey College in 2000.

Throughout his life, Parker maintained his passion for African art, collecting a priceless treasure of works, both from abroad and locally. Among the artists featured in his more than 400 piece collection include African American artists Debra Hand, Dale Washington, Andre Guichard, Makeba Kedem-DuBose and Anna T. Brown, and pieces hailing from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Senegal. In 2003, Parker co-founded Diasporal Rhythms, a consortium of Chicago area art collectors dedicated toward the promotion of contemporary artists, notably from Chicago’s South Side. In 2004, Parker offered a more in-depth look into his own collection and the broader legacy and history of black art, with the publication of his book, African Art: The Diaspora and Beyond. Parker and his longtime partner, Chicago artist Mark Livingston, also began to open Parker’s Hyde Park home to visitors interested in viewing the collection. Parker’s collection has also been shown at Chicago area art museums, and he has become a well-sought expert on African and African American art, recently helping Chicago Bear Charles Tillman develop his own budding collection. Mark Livingston died in 2007.

Parker was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 16, 2009.

Accession Number

A2009.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/16/2009

Last Name

Parker

Maker Category
Middle Name

Texidor

Organizations
Schools

John Farren Elementary School

DuSable High School

Chicago State University

Kennedy–King College

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Daniel

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PAR08

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

I Am The Master Of My Fate. I Am The Captain Of My Soul.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/6/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Art collector, curator, and educator Daniel Texidor Parker (1941 - ) was a counselor at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago, Illinois; and a collector of African, Caribbean and Asian art. His book 'African Art: The Diaspora and Beyond' was published in 2005.

Employment

Thomas Chalmers Elementary School

Spry Upper Grade Center

Olive-Harvey College

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Daniel Texidor Parker's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Daniel Texidor Parker lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers his maternal family's migration to the North

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his mother's personality and employment

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about his father's ethnic background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about his father's ethnic background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Daniel Texidor Parker lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers his father's cooking and occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about Chicago public housing developments, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about Chicago public housing developments, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls his early musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers his favorite television programs

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls seeing the film 'West Side Story'

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his early drawings

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers his high school art teacher, Margaret Burroughs

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his early artistic interests

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about early representations of Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers the DuSable Panthers basketball team of 1954

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls his high school interests and activities

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers his graduation from Dusable High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his high school teachers and classmates

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about his teenage experiences in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls attending Woodrow Wilson Junior College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers changing his major from architecture to education

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls graduating from Chicago Teachers College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers his early teaching experiences in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls his desire to study Spanish in Mexico City, Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers his experiences in Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls his role as guidance counselor of Spry Upper Grade Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about leaving Spry Upper Grade Center

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers being hired at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his counseling experiences at Olive-Harvey College, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his counseling experiences at Olive-Harvey College, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers the arts scene of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about the Black Studies Conference at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers psychologist Bobby E. Wright

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls the start of his art collection, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about collectors of African art

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls the start of his art collection, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes characteristics of African art

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Daniel Texidor Parker explains his interest in Yoruba art

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Daniel Texidor Parker considers the existence of an African aesthetic

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about his African art collection

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes his friend, Mark Livingston

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Daniel Texidor Parker recalls the development of his book, 'African Art'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Daniel Texidor Parker talks about the African diaspora

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes the art collective Diasporal Rhythms

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Daniel Texidor Parker remembers a fire at his home

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Daniel Texidor Parker reflects upon his life, legacy and family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Daniel Texidor Parker describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Daniel Texidor Parker narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Daniel Texidor Parker recalls his role as guidance counselor of Spry Upper Grade Center in Chicago, Illinois
Daniel Texidor Parker recalls the start of his art collection, pt. 1
Transcript
Now when you, you got back, you--in '67 [1967] you worked on a master's degree at Roosevelt University [Chicago, Illinois] in psychology?$$Um-hm.$$Now what, what made you, you know, switch to psychology?$$Well, really it was counseling. What made me is that teaching I saw, I say these kids need something more than teaching, they need guidance or something. And I do know when, in those days I don't know if they do the same, when the boys--when the girls go to gym you have the boys in the classroom by themselves, and when the girls go to gym, you know, you have--when the boys go to gym you have the girls in the classroom. And so I would take this time not to give them busy work but I would say, "Come on fellows, let's move these chairs around," and they sit in a group around me and we would talk. I, I said, "Just, you know, tell me--," and they would talk about their families, they would talk about things like that. And I did the same thing with the girls, the girls would talk more than the boys but they would get, begin to reveal things about their families and this is when I said oh, I could be of better service being a counselor and in psychology. So I first wanted to be a school psychologist, and then I said--you--then all you're really doing is testing, you know, you're not treating as such. And so I became a counselor.$$Okay. Did you stay at the same school and (unclear)--$$No, that's when I--$$Okay.$$--went to Spry Upper Grade Center.$$Okay. And where was Spry?$$Spry was near Harrison High School [Carter H. Harrison Technical High School].$$Okay. This was the west--$$On the West Side [Chicago, Illinois].$$Okay.$$Yeah. And that was a very, very interesting because I had very good rapport with my principal at, at Chalmers [Thomas Chalmers Elementary School; Thomas Chalmers School of Excellence, Chicago, Illinois], but I interviewed for the job at--the principal and the assistant principal interviewed me and they said, "You know, your principal said you're somewhat of a, a black activist but you know what? You're just what we want." And because their school had eighth to sixth grade, it was all white, and seventh and eighth grade the students were bused in and they were integrated and they needed someone to work with these seventh and eighth graders and they thought I could be that person.$When did you really start collecting art? Now, what--when did you really start doing that consciously?$$Let's see, maybe you can say in the seventy--1970. I started getting prints, you know, not anything of, of substance but--to me it was of substance, it was prints and figurative pieces. And I remember around '72 [1972] I moved north, and I would go in these shops and there I would see these--African art. And so that's when I start, started the collection of African art. I remember old--a classmate had a furniture store on 87th Street and in it he sold African art. And I remember one of the first pieces of African art I got from him, that I still have. One of the first pieces I got in a, on the North Side [Chicago, Illinois]. It's a simple bust, female bust, Nigerian, and it, they sell it as, they call it airport art, and it's just art that they produce en masse from, for the consumer who are more or less not the collector, but the consumer who says, "I want a piece of African art." And I started and like any good addiction it overcomes you. And so it--African art really became my first love. And maybe that's why I didn't--with [HistoryMaker] Jeff Donaldson and all the Wall of Respect [Chicago, Illinois], I like the art but I didn't, I was more into the African art and later I came into the works on--with paper, pencil, and oils.$$Okay. So you would--when did you kind of start producing art again, about the same time or?$$Well, right, I'm not an artist as such; I'm just a collector. So I remember I took an art class when I was at Chicago State [Chicago Teachers College; Chicago State University, Chicago, Illinois] and I did things with chalk and I loved the chalk because you could just mix it and fade in and fade out and blend and do all kinds of things. And they were okay, you know. My sister [Harriet Parker] framed them and have them in her house now. So it's something that she, she likes a lot.$$Well, what kind of a study or consultation or guidance did you get when you began to collect? 'Cause as you said before there's certain--there's airport art--$$Um-hm.$$--and there's art that, you know, is pushed to tourists, and I've heard--$$Um-hm.$$--I don't know if you know a Dr. Okodia [ph.] from Nigeria--$$Um-hm.$$--he's, he's very, I don't--you know, from what he says and, you know, most people don't know the difference and he--. You know, so what, how did you get, you know, trained to really identify what's really valuable or wasn't? Or does that--is that even important?$$Well, yes, it is important. And I then began to train myself. I, you know, from my students going back to elementary school and, and--teaching elementary school [at Thomas Chalmers Elementary School; Thomas Chalmers School of Excellence, Chicago, Illinois] going back to them making clay figures and the African village to going on the North Side and seeing these arts in, in, in resale shops. I then began to--and then over here Windows to Africa [Chicago, Illinois], a guy named Patrick [Patrick Woodtor] and a guy named Dio [Dio Lee (ph.)], they began to educate me. And I began to look at the art and not just the ones that attracted me but really look at the art and began to see what tribes they came from and family groups they came from.

Patric McCoy

Art collector and environmental chemist Patric Gregory McCoy was born on December 20, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois. McCoy graduated as class valedictorian from Englewood High School in Chicago in 1964. He received his B.A. degree in chemistry in 1969 from the University of Chicago. Beginning in 1972, McCoy was employed as the chief chemist for the Gary, Indiana, Air Pollution Control Department while taking graduate courses part-time. He received his M.A. degree in environmental science from Governors State University in 1979.

From 1979 to 2006, McCoy worked with the Air and Radiation Division of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Regional Office in Chicago, inspecting sites to ensure their conformity with EPA standards. While there, he authored a number of technical papers on environmental science and industry regulation. McCoy retired from the EPA in 2006 after serving for 10 years as a national expert on air pollution control measures for the petroleum refining industry.

Building upon his interest in art that began in college, McCoy co-founded Diasporal Rhythms in 2003. Diasporal Rhythms is a not-for-profit arts organization that promotes the collection of art works by living artists of African descent. McCoy is president of Diasporal Rhythms and a member of its board of directors. His collection contains more than one thousand paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, and assemblages of African American art. McCoy enjoys taking part in artistic community outreach efforts such as panel presentations and art contests. In May 2008, McCoy was part of a panel presentation on the topic, Black Enough: Black Representation in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice. It investigated the intersection of race, ethnicity, and aesthetics in contemporary art and sought to explain the complexity of race and representation in the art market. In October 2008, McCoy published an article with Dawoud Bey entitled, “Translation,” in the Chicago Artists’ Coalition’s Prompt Art Journal in October 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.129

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/7/2008

Last Name

McCoy

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Englewood High School

Austin O. Sexton Elementary School

Fellrath Junior High School

University of Chicago

Governors State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Patric

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MCC11

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Stop Trying, Just Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/20/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruit, Fish

Short Description

Art collector and curator Patric McCoy (1946 - ) co-founded Diasporal Rhythms, a not-for-profit arts organization that promotes the collection of contemporary art works by artists of African descent, in 2003. The organization has collected more than four hundred paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, and assemblages of African American art. McCoy worked for the Environmental Protection Agency from 1979 to 2006.

Employment

Englewood Public Schools

City of Gary, Indiana

Environmental Protection Agency

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:1050,15:1400,21:1680,26:5670,93:7070,188:9170,236:14606,300:15036,310:19938,409:20454,427:20798,432:23378,488:28366,589:28710,794:30516,892:73058,1273:73850,1284:81275,1393:84898,1417:87220,1450:87650,1456:88080,1462:95290,1558:99976,1642:100632,1651:104732,1748:108750,1852:116376,2008:118262,2044:126491,2069:131363,2177:132059,2186:132929,2203:146134,2394:146446,2399:149254,2451:151930,2472$246,0:656,6:1968,25:5388,88:9700,140:13572,199:14276,207:20798,335:25786,427:26216,433:29715,450:31670,481:32265,489:33285,504:37535,572:39575,612:40000,618:41445,642:46104,677:48183,708:48953,719:49338,725:52033,770:57774,825:64072,928:65952,960:66328,965:69148,1018:78030,1057:78570,1063:82485,1094:87210,1131:87630,1139:88540,1157:88960,1164:93440,1266:95120,1294:108479,1467:113239,1529:113715,1534:118365,1549:118730,1555:120482,1615:120847,1621:122380,1653:122964,1662:127125,1735:132089,1842:137710,1940:138075,1946:138951,1962:147340,2075:157887,2240:163134,2333:165922,2385:166332,2391:173214,2464:175630,2477:176126,2487:181059,2559:181383,2564:181788,2570:182112,2575:183327,2606:184785,2633:205929,2914:206344,2920:210494,2938:211880,2967:212474,2979:212804,2985:213134,2991:213530,2999:216368,3070:220722,3086:234270,3274:237497,3303:237892,3309:238682,3322:239393,3332:240025,3341:243600,3406:245364,3456:246561,3478:247632,3509:250152,3599:250530,3607:259777,3740:262475,3781:265599,3835:279770,4015:281360,4027
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Patric McCoy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Patric McCoy lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Patric McCoy talks about his maternal family background, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Patric McCoy describes his mother, Jeannetta McCoy Wheatley

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Patric McCoy talks about his maternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Patric McCoy describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Patric McCoy describes his father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Patric McCoy talks about his father's narcolepsy and scholarship to the Pittsburgh Institute of Art

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Patric McCoy describes his paternal grandmother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Patric McCoy describes his paternal grandfather's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Patric McCoy talks about the lynching of his great uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Patric McCoy describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Patric McCoy talks about his father's artwork and art collection

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Patric McCoy lists his siblings and their birth order

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Patric McCoy describes his childhood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Patric McCoy talks about his childhood best friend

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Patric McCoy remembers his elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Patric McCoy describes his experience at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Patric McCoy describes his childhood personality and experience with narcolepsy

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Patric McCoy talks about his experience at Fellrath Junior High School in Inkster, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Patric McCoy describes the history and socioeconomic demographics of Inkster, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Patric McCoy talks about attending church

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Patric McCoy remembers Sputnik and the Cold War

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Patric McCoy remembers his high school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Patric McCoy describes his experience at Englewood High School, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Patric McCoy talks about working in the mailroom for an Illinois legislative committee

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Patric McCoy talks about applying to the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Patric McCoy briefly describes civil rights activity in 1960s Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Patric McCoy talks about wanting to be a chemist

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Patric McCoy describes his experience as an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Patric McCoy talks about his social experience at the University of Chicago, including the emergence of the black arts movement and Black Nationalism

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Patric McCoy remembers racist and difficult teachers at the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Patric McCoy lists exceptional teachers at the University of Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Patric McCoy lists black professors at the University of Chicago in the 1960s including HistoryMakers Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright and Dr. James Bowman

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Patric McCoy explains how the civil rights and black power movements affected his undergraduate career

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Patric McCoy talks about teaching at Englewood High School

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Patric McCoy remembers being arrested for remodeling his chemistry classroom unsupervised

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Patric McCoy talks about being transferred from Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois to Lane Tech College Prep in Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Patric McCoy talks about being hired as chief chemist to the City of Gary, Indiana's air pollution division

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Patric McCoy describes developing an interest in environmentalism

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Patric McCoy talks about studying deposition in the Great Lakes with the Environmental Protection Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Patric McCoy describes being hired at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois office

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Patric McCoy describes his experience working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chicago office

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Patric McCoy describes developing a pollution team for the Environmental Protection Agency

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Patric McCoy describes challenging the petroleum refinery industry with the EPA pollution team, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Patric McCoy describes challenging the petroleum refinery industry with the EPA pollution team, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Patric McCoy describes the beginning of his art collecting

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Patric McCoy describes recognizing himself as an art collector

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Patric McCoy describes meeting artist and HistoryMaker Jonathan Green in 1988

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Patric McCoy talks about speaking on a panel of art collectors including HistoryMaker Daniel Texidor Parker in 2002

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Patric McCoy talks about the artist's panel at the Art Institute of Chicago that inspired the formation of Diasporal Rhythms

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Patric McCoy describes the development of Diasporal Rhythms and the Collectors Invitational

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Patric McCoy talks about submitting an article to the English pop culture platform, The Drum

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Patric McCoy explains the origin of Diasporal Rhythms' name

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Patric McCoy explains why Diasporal Rhythms recognizes contemporary artists

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Patric McCoy talks about work in his collection from non-black artists

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Patric McCoy describes his current art collection and explains his selection process

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Patric McCoy describes his view on how art is appreciated and valued

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Patric McCoy lists artists whose work is prevalent in his collection

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Patric McCoy describes his favorite mediums

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Patric McCoy describes organizing themes in his collection, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Patric McCoy describes organizing themes in his collection, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Patric McCoy talks about the racial themes present in his collection

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Patric McCoy talks about the painting, 'Masturbation,' is his collection

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Patric McCoy describes the 'Not Just A Pretty Face' exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Patric McCoy talks about how much longer he plans to collect, and his commitment to reinventing who the decisionmakers are in the visual arts

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Patric McCoy describes the ultimate goal for Diasporal Rhythms

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Patric McCoy describes how difficult it is to isolate any one piece from his collection

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Patirc McCoy talks about opening up his collection to the public

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Patirc McCoy describes hosting artist socials

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Patirc McCoy describes the process of insuring artwork

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Patirc McCoy imagines a digital database of the Diasporal Rhythms' art collection

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Patirc McCoy talks about the history of art collecting within his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Patric McCoy talks about Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who's considered the first permanent resident of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Patric McCoy reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Patric McCoy considers what else he would like to do in his life

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Patric McCoy narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

11$3

DATitle
Patric McCoy remembers being arrested for remodeling his chemistry classroom unsupervised
Patric McCoy talks about the artist's panel at the Art Institute of Chicago that inspired the formation of Diasporal Rhythms
Transcript
In fact, I got taken away once in (laughter)--over the Christmas holiday, I went over to the school [Englewood Technical Prep Academy High School, Chicago, Illinois] 'cause the lab was in disrepair. And I went to the school during the Christmas holiday. I said, "I'm going to paint this"--I bought paint and brushes and stuff--"I'm going to paint the lab and make it look spruce for the kids when they came back." Little--I know that the Chicago Public Schools [CPS] is a total closed shop in regards to the union. You aren't supposed to do nothing unless the union. So, I went there just a painting, purple and white everything (laughter). The engineer--one of the laborers, and union people came in there and saw me and left. And then, all of a sudden, the, the engineer of the school came in and he said, "You have to leave immediately." He didn't tell me why. He just said, "You have to leave." I said, "I'm, I'll leave when I'm finished. This is my room--I teach in this room." He said, "You have to leave right now." And I said, "I'm going to leave when I finish." So, he left. Next thing I know, the Chicago Police are coming up and (laughter) and they are arresting me and take me out in handcuffs (laughter) 'cause I didn't want to leave. I didn't know I was violating union laws. I--now, I haven't joined a union. I kind of understand it, but I don't agree with it because that school was scheduled to be painted, like on every seven years, so it was going to be a million years before they--and the school was dilapidated at the time. So, it turned out that just as I was walking out of the building, one of the building managers for the [Chicago] Board of Education was coming past in a car. He might have been told about it. And he came up and he said, "What's going on?" They told him. And he said, "Well, turn him over to my custody." And so, the man put me in the car and he told me, he said, "You know, you've violated the law." He said, "This is a union shop. You cannot do this." And he says, "You have to only do anything when the principal is in the building, 'cause when the principal is out of the building, the engineer is in complete control. He has complete authority for it." So, I had to go and eat crow, and when the school started, and go and apologize to the principal. And the principal says, "You know, if you want to do anything, make sure I'm in the building and don't tell anybody, or have the kids do it."$Later that year, the Art Institute [of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois]--or was it the early part of 2003--the Art Institute had a show called A Century of Collecting, or A Hundred Years of Collecting of African American Art [sic, Century of Collecting: African American Art in the Art Institute of Chicago] and I went to the show, was not that impressed with what they said they had been doing for a hundred years. But they had a panel discussion about their collection, and they had invited several of the artists, African American artists, that were in the Art Institute's collection. Now the Art Institute is a major institution. So, I was thinking, when I was going to that panel that I would hear people expressing their appreciation of being--having their work put into the Art Institute--totally different. It was the most mind-boggling experience I had seen in a long time (laughter). It was Nelson Stevens, [HM] Kerry James Marshall, John Dowd (ph.) from Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], [HM] Dawoud Bey here in Chicago [Illinois]. And I was stunned that, that panel was so negative and critical of the Art Institute of not doing a good job, and not having collected, and so forth, which it turns out they were correct. But I was just like stunned that they would do this like wow. My thinking would be that they would be so appreciative of being in there that--so my mouth was hanging up when I left. I like, whoa, but they (unclear) almost like points of criticism of the--from the stage, like wow. So I went home. That evening at the South Shore Cultural Center [Chicago, Illinois], which is another place where I intended to go and, and interact with artists, and buy work and see work, and so forth. There was a show that evening. I got there, and one of the artists, Dalton Brown, was there right at the entrance. And he says, I want you to meet Nathaniel McLin who was an art critic. He's African American. He has a radio program at that time at Kennedy-King College [Chicago, Illinois]. And he was an art critic, and he said, I want you to meet him because, you know, I don't (unclear) want you guys to know each other. You can talk art and so forth. And when I looked at Nathaniel, I said, oh, I saw him at the panel earlier that day. And I asked him, I said, "Were you at the panel?" I said, "What was going on there? Why were they doing that? And why would they say those things?" And he said, "That was nothing." He says, "Art institutions don't pay attention to what artists have to say." He said there's no harm done. They could care less what an artist says." He says, "They only listen to collectors." Big light bulb went on (laughter). I said, what? He said the only people they pay attention to is collectors. And I, oh, wait a minute. So, if you want people to listen to you, you have to be, you have to speak as a collector. And I'm thinking--I just met these three collectors, and I want us to talk. I want our voice to be heard about what we think is important. So, I went back to them and I said, let's form an organization of collectors, and they bought, they bought into the idea. Dan Parker [HM Daniel Texidor Parker] and I--we said we're going to do this. We're going to form an organization. And we decided that we were going to be the first voice in our community speaking about the artists, the contemporary artists, the living artists, that we think were important. We're not going to wait for institutions like the Art Institute, or the Museum of Contemporary Art [Chicago, Chicago, Illinois], or The Gallerist, or whatever to tell us what is good. We were going to be the first voice 'cause we're right there close to it. We know the artists and so forth. We felt that it should be this bottom-up flow of cultural energy instead of a top-down cultural flow.$$This is in 2003?$$Yes, in 2003. And we said, we're going to do this. We're stepping out--four people don't realize what we're getting into. And then, we're going to do all this major stuff.

Samuel Akainyah

Painter Samuel Akainyah was born in Ghana on September 5, 1953. His father was a Ghanaian Supreme Court justice, and his mother was a teacher. He was one of five children. Akainyah attended a boarding high school before moving to Chicago, Illinois, in 1975 and enrolling into the School of the Art Institute to study fine art and art history. He received his B.A. degree in 1979 and later received his M.A. degree. While in school, Akainyah completed a mural at St. Sabina Church, on Chicago’s South Side. Akainyah also received his M.A. degree in diplomacy and international law from the Graduate Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago.

After graduate school, Akainyah began using his African history knowledge and his painting skills to create highly expressive paintings. In the early 1980s, one of his frescos was sold at a celebrity auction and later became a poster for the NAACP. A decade later, “Akainyah: The Art of Liberation,” became a traveling exhibition worldwide, paying tribute to Nelson Mandela and those who have died in South African prisons. In 1994, Professor Beverly Ross-Normand wrote and hosted a forty-minute television program for children entitled Initiations, which juxtaposed Akainyah’s painting of the initiation of Ghanian males against the rising gang subculture in America. A few years later, Akainyah became a faculty member in the humanities department at Kennedy-King Community College in Chicago. He has published three books including a 2008 autobiography.

Akainyah was honored by the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois when they proclaimed February 15, 1999, as Samuel Akainyah Day in Chicago. That same year, he was elected as the official artist of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In 2005, he presented the President of Ghana with an 11’ X 11’ painting entitled, From Whence We Came, valued at $80,000. A year later, he was named one of the fifty most influential African Americans in Chicago by N’Digo magazine. Akainyah has been a member of the Rald Institute and Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago. He has also chaired the Black Creativity Art Competition at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Akainyah lives in Chicago and has his own art gallery. He is married to Kim Akainyah. They have three children.

Accession Number

A2008.092

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/18/2008 |and| 12/14/2009

Last Name

Akainyah

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

University of Chicago

St. Monica's

Kumasi High School

Kumasi Academy

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Samuel

HM ID

AKA01

Favorite Season

None

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/5/1953

Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

Ghana

Favorite Food

Soup (Peanut Butter), Fufu, Stew (Spinach), Beans (Fried), Plantains (Fried)

Short Description

Art gallery owner Samuel Akainyah (1953 - ) was elected as the official artist of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1999. He owned Akainyah Gallery, and taught at Kennedy-King College.

Employment

Akainyah Gallery

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:534,6:1157,14:14536,177:20230,286:21106,297:22639,316:23150,324:26800,380:34910,481:40361,595:42017,635:42569,644:44363,687:44984,697:49250,707:52800,782:53439,793:57273,856:57628,862:57983,868:58409,880:59190,893:59474,898:60326,913:61249,929:62101,945:78269,1213:81748,1275:92237,1375:93478,1398:94208,1407:94865,1417:95522,1428:96398,1445:107369,1618:108860,1696:110848,1734:111274,1741:112552,1762:113262,1773:115676,1817:115960,1822:121460,1842:121971,1853:139780,2143:140728,2157:142940,2193:149092,2256:149628,2283:164110,2459:165982,2492:170230,2568:171238,2583:172606,2604:177380,2679$0,0:840,15:1400,26:2450,45:2800,51:3430,64:4060,74:4550,82:5740,103:6370,116:7000,126:7490,134:8680,156:9870,176:11410,209:11830,216:18250,280:19238,313:21898,347:24026,385:24862,399:25394,407:30750,412:31608,425:38862,536:39252,543:39564,548:40500,571:41202,587:41670,594:43386,626:44088,637:44712,646:46974,685:47286,690:49002,723:49392,729:50094,741:50640,750:50952,755:52746,772:61078,823:61816,835:63374,863:68540,943:69360,954:72148,1014:77778,1075:78857,1093:79272,1099:79687,1106:84086,1164:84916,1175:85497,1183:85829,1188:86908,1205:91368,1232:91900,1240:93800,1279:94408,1289:95244,1301:96308,1322:98132,1362:98740,1370:99500,1385:100108,1393:100868,1404:101552,1414:106046,1446:106670,1454:107996,1478:112130,1554:112754,1563:113690,1577:116342,1615:116654,1620:117278,1629:121850,1686:122600,1697:124175,1726:125075,1741:127550,1798:128000,1805:128525,1829:131225,1885:131825,1894:132650,1907:139210,1999:140570,2014:141370,2027:144090,2073:145690,2096:146410,2108:149930,2180:154190,2188:154498,2193:154883,2199:155807,2214:157130,2226
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Akainyah's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the Nzema language

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his father's law career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his father's first two marriages

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah recalls his mother's career as a headmistress

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah describes his parents' marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah talks about polygamy in Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes his upbringing in the British colony of Ghana

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the customs of the Nzema

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the Nzema burial rites

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah remembers the Ghanaian military coup of 1966, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah remembers the Ghanaian military coup of 1966, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah describes the impact of the military coup upon Ghanaians

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah recalls Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah's literacy programs

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Kwame Nkrumah's legacy in Ghana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah recalls the impact of the military coup upon his family

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah describes the aversion to politics in Ghana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Ghana's political turmoil

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah describes his schooling in Ghana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah describes his decision to leave Ghana

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the economic opportunities in Ghana

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the philanthropic opportunities in Ghana

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes his early interest in art

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah describes his choice of paint media

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his education in Ghana

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the connection between parents and their children

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah remembers his decision to study art

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Samuel Akainyah describes the development of his art movement

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Akainyah's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah recalls transferring to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah remembers the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes the differences between Ghana and the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah recalls his instructors at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah talks about Claude Monet

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about Pablo Picasso

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah talks about African American artists who influenced him

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Samuel Akainyah describes Chicago's African American artists and gallery owners

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the themes of his artwork

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his musical interests

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah recalls Father Michael Pfleger's financial support

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the size of his paintings

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes his artistic career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah describes 'The Father Clements Story'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah remembers Harold Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his studies in diplomacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah's policies, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah's policies, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah remembers his instructors at the University of Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah recalls his final term paper at the University of Chicago

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah describes the relations between the United States and Ghana

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his decision to remain in the United States, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his decision to remain in the United States, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah talks about Ghanian expatriate communities

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about gender roles in the Nzema culture

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the artistic concept of dualism

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Samuel Akainyah describes his dualist paintings

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his move to the United States

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah describes the influence of history on his artwork

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah describes his plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his career as an artist

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes the community of black gallery owners

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the patrons of his art

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah describes his students at Kennedy-King College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his commissioned artwork

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah describes his favorite painting

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his career as a professor

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah describes his hopes for Ghana

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah describes Ghana's influence on the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the history of slavery in Ghana, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the history of slavery in Ghana, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$7

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Kwame Nkrumah's legacy in Ghana
Samuel Akainyah describes his dualist paintings
Transcript
Other African countries took the cue, and to-date, and one more statistical data, in that period, he built over twenty-seven government chartered boarding schools and secondary schools, littered through the length and breadth of the country. And one amazing paradigm he brought: every school was required to have a student population that reflected the entire demographic of the country. So, classes were taught in English, no doubt; we studied Latin and French. However, after classes, you can hear the Fante speaking and the Ashanti students speaking, the Ga students speaking. So, in the process, your average Ghanaian student, graduate from those high schools spoke three of the different languages just by hearing their classmates speak it in the dormitory, in addition to French and English. To-date, it is probably--the Ghanaians will tell the truth about this. It's probably the only reason why our country has not seen any of the riffs of sectorial and ethnic cleavages on the--in the manner that Rwanda, Tutsi, Hutu; and the Darfur [Sudan], Janjaweed; and all the rest of it. We--and even in Igbo, Ife, Beninian conflicts (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah and in Nigeria, yes sir--$$We don't have that because the three of us--your camera, you the host, myself as the guest. Now, it could be Nzema, Ashanti and Ewe; we're in the same school, but we are classmates. How can I wage any bloodshed against my classmates? And this is what Nkrumah [Kwame Nkrumah] was trying to advocate and, of course, hindsight is always 20/20, as has been advocated. So, now, people see the wisdom of what he was trying to do, yeah. And (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) But they saw him as being disruptive at the time.$$Of the social institutions and the prevailing traditional tenets of the time. It, it was very much intrusive, and this was a perception. And even to make it worse, when the farmers' children left the plantations completely, then he thought, that being the case--then all the men who were illiterate and could not work, he formed what's called the Builders [Builders Brigade] and the Farmers Brigade, and purchased huge plots of land to plant palm trees and rubber trees, and these men were, were working in the plantations and they had a salary, and the salary seemed to be better, and so the farmers thought Nkrumah was trying to nationalize farming, so that was also another--. So, the, the, the inner currents that fulgurated enough to cause the rifts in the country were purely from the agricultural sector.$$Okay.$$Yes; it was never discrimination because his covenant reflected the entire country. You had northerners, you had Ewes, you know.$So, throughout some of my paintings, you can stand east and see something totally different, and stand west and see something totally different; or you can take the artwork in total and turn the whole artwork upside down and read a whole 'nother interpretation out of it. And so this is it. I took a piece like that to Christie's titled 'Man At Work' [ph.]. And on one part, Maasai warriors were sitting down mourning the death of one of their comrades; and it was cast against a dark blue sky; and their, their clothing was red lit with a fire that they were sitting around. Turned upside down, that black--that blue sky became the warriors with their heads, and the red clothing down became the bright sun; they were going back to the field to seek revenge, to find that lion that killed the man and, and so on. So, even if you look at the artwork that is behind me (gesture), this piece evolved to be the official artwork for the 1996 Democratic National Convention [Chicago, Illinois] and it, it captures everything I've just said. You will see three architectural symbols: one, the White House, source of executive authority, located on the far left of California because they have the largest legislative votes. To the extreme right you have the [U.S.] Capitol, the source of legislative authority. And then right in the center, you see the [U.S.] Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court is a source of judicial authority. And on the Supreme Court, you see the flag because independence of the judiciary is really the brick and mortar of the American separation of powers. And enshrined in that is the huge American flag, and you see the Sears Tower [Willis Tower] and the Buckingham Fountain as two iconographic images for the City of Chicago [Illinois]. When that artwork is turned upside down, all that confetti that you see pouring down on the Democratic Party, they actually become human heads, and they're all running a marathon holding and hoisting the flag up, and the idea is that we should stand up and hold America high. Why? Because this is the last beacon on earth. There is no country, Mr. Crowe [Larry Crowe], no country on earth, where you have a citizen from every country in the world in it.

Peg Alston

Private art dealer Peg Alston was born in Camden, New Jersey on December 31, 1938. As a child, Alston always wanted to make a difference. Prior to starting her private art dealership, Alston worked as a social worker from 1969 to 1975. She obtained her B.A. degree from New York University in 1960 and obtained her M.S.W. degree from Columbia University in 1964. She has also continued to study various art classes at the New School for Social Research. Her career in art began in 1969 as a council member for the Studio Museum of Harlem in New York. Inspired by art and private dealing, she became the publicity director for Cinque Gallery. Becoming frustrated because of the lack of visibility for African American artists, she established the Peg Alston Gallery in 1975, a private art dealership, specializing in African American art and sculpture.

Alston has held numerous art-related positions. In 1978, she served as a panel member on the New York State Council for the Arts where she helped to bring visibility to African American artists. In 1980, Alston became the curator for Retour Aux Sources, the first exhibit of African American artists in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and West Africa. In 1989, she was the coordinator for the Celebration of Tokyo and New York City as Sister Cities Art Festival, which led to her receiving the Distinction of Honor Award by the New York Coalition of Black Women that same year. From 1990 to 1992, she and Dr. Kaye E. Davis co-sponsored Established Art Seminars in New York City, which helped to bring African American art to a broader audience.

Alston continues to work to promote the works of African American artists. In 1995, she was Honorary Chair Person for Black Pearls: Treasures of African American Women Artists, an exhibit presented by the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women at New York City’s Cinque Gallery. Also in 1995, she was a panel speaker for Collecting African American Art at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey and she was also a panel speaker at the Conference on Female Entrepreneurship at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which was sponsored by the National Association of Female Executives. Alston has received several awards for her work in African American Art including a Certificate of Recognition from National Scene Magazine.

Alston lives in New York with her husband and continues to run the Peg Alston Gallery of African American art and sculpture.

Accession Number

A2006.032

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/2/2006 |and| 3/7/2006

Last Name

Alston

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Sumner

Camden High School

Columbia University School of Social Work

New York University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Peg

Birth City, State, Country

Camden

HM ID

ALS01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Thank You, God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/31/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Vegetables

Short Description

Art gallery owner Peg Alston (1938 - ) is a private art dealer who established the Peg Alston Gallery in 1975. Alston's gallery has received recognition for promoting the artwork of African American artists and sculptors.

Employment

Seamen's Society for Children

City University of New York

Peg Alston Fine Arts Gallery

Favorite Color

Neutral Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:1196,8:2116,34:9752,187:11776,211:15272,272:15732,278:22716,385:23700,405:24192,414:33950,636:38788,724:44986,762:46746,785:56372,909:56780,917:57256,929:57732,937:63779,994:81151,1220:92210,1371$0,0:505,4:7070,155:10302,242:18473,305:22636,323:24016,343:28064,421:28524,427:29904,443:35332,517:49725,590:52100,666:53335,693:54380,713:57420,756:70080,868:70456,873:78070,1039:96648,1194:99170,1231:105130,1270:108658,1321:109330,1331:113278,1391:114202,1404:114790,1412:127365,1512:128285,1527:138834,1696:139369,1708:143910,1768:145030,1784:146150,1803:148310,1845:151110,1963:152550,1991:154230,2040:158151,2056:160973,2122:165953,2210:178070,2310:178902,2321:182182,2349:185954,2407:186692,2417:188004,2437:188660,2445:191220,2459
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Peg Alston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Peg Alston lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Peg Alston describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Peg Alston describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Peg Alston describes her paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Peg Alston describes her paternal grandmother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Peg Alston describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Peg Alston describe her genetic makeup

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Peg Alston describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Peg Alston remembers her grandmother's influence

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Peg Alston recalls her childhood neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Peg Alston recalls her difficult childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Peg Alston remembers quitting her violin lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Peg Alston remembers childhood Christmas celebrations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Peg Alston recalls her teachers at Charles Sumner Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Peg Alston recalls her organizational participation in Camden

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Peg Alston recalls her decision to study social work

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Peg Alston describes people who influenced her in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Peg Alston describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Peg Alston remembers New Jersey's Camden High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Peg Alston remembers her childhood understanding of racism

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Peg Alston describes her extracurricular activities at Camden High School

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Peg Alston recalls her experience of racial discrimination at the YWCA

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Peg Alston remembers being refused service at a Camden restaurant

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Peg Alston remembers deciding to attend New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Peg Alston recalls adjusting to life at New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Peg Alston remembers living in Greenwich Village in New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Peg Alston describes the African American community at New York University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Peg Alston recalls discovering art while babysitting in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Peg Alston describes the woman who employed her as a babysitter

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Peg Alston remembers entering the art world

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Peg Alston describes her career in social work

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Peg Alston talks about the Spiral group

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Peg Alston describes her early interest in African sculpture

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Peg Alston remembers holding an African sculpture show at her apartment

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Peg Alston remembers being mentored by Romare Bearden

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Peg Alston recalls showing Edward Clark's artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peg Alston describes the novelty of exhibiting African American art

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Peg Alston talks about the demarcation of black art

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Peg Alston recalls holding a show in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Peg Alston remembers educating herself and others about black art

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Peg Alston describes the public's ignorance of black art

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Peg Alston describes her response to Jean-Michel Basquiat's popularity

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Peg Alston shares her opinion on Jean-Michel Basquiat's art

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Peg Alston's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Peg Alston talks about her mother's family history

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Peg Alston talks about her uncle's experience as a Tuskegee Airman

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Peg Alston recalls finding photographs for the Black Theatre Festival-U.S.A.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Peg Alston recalls contributing to an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Peg Alston talks about Edward Clark

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Peg Alston talks about Merton Simpson

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Peg Alston recalls selling the artwork of Elizabeth Catlett and Jacob Lawrence

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Peg Alston remembers discovering Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Peg Alston remembers an exhibit at City College of New York in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Peg Alston talks about African American art and history

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Peg Alston talks about the role of the Studio Museum of Harlem

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Peg Alston describes her mission for Peg Alston Fine Arts Gallery

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Peg Alston describes how she chooses art

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Peg Alston talks about William T. Williams

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Peg Alston talks about Al Loving

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Peg Alston talks about Howardena Pindell

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Peg Alston describes African American art galleries in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Peg Alston describes the broadening audience for black art

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Peg Alston describes the National Black Fine Art Show

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Peg Alston describes her hopes for the Peg Alston Fine Arts Gallery

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Peg Alston recalls promoting the artwork of Norman Lewis

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Peg Alston reflects upon her career

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Peg Alston talks about her selection as HistoryMaker

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Peg Alston reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Peg Alston describes her vocation in art

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Peg Alston narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

13$3

DATitle
Peg Alston remembers being refused service at a Camden restaurant
Peg Alston describes the novelty of exhibiting African American art
Transcript
Another time, well again that was before I graduated [from Camden High School, Camden, New Jersey]. Graduation, the prom it was, I planned where we as a group, there may have been about twelve of us were going after, after the prom for dinner and to celebrate. It was a place called the Hawaiian [Hawaiian Cottage, Cherry Hill, New Jersey]--I can't remember now, I guess I've really blocked it now, and this was like you know you're passing out of Camden [New Jersey] and you see this and it was the front of it was the shape of a pineapple and it looked great and I guess black people I never knew of a black person going there, but this was certainly a place to go. Your prom, you know, you want something that's really fantastic. I called and I never made reservations any place before, but I figured here twelve people, at least twelve people I made reservations, we went after the prom, and then they told me they didn't have my name and I'm one, you know, I said, "Well let me see the book," and then my friends said, "Come on Vonnie [HistoryMaker Peg Alston]," you know as they all told me, "Let's not, let's you know, we'll go somewhere else." I was crying I was so upset, very upset, but and you know after that, years after it was integrated, but I didn't know, but you know I had never set and would never want to. I don't think it exists now, but anyway.$So, that did a lot for Ed [HistoryMaker Edward Clark] in the black community, introducing his work. What did that do for you as an art dealer hosting his first show (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) I learned, I learned a lot just in terms of presenting an, an exhibit, and it was always, you know, I knew that I was in the right field; it all felt good. What I was doing, you know, just felt right for me. I mean I was doing what I enjoyed, even though mind you, you know, we're not talking about successful, often successful monetarily because there were many, many months when I didn't know how I was gonna pay my rent, but I also learned not to worry. I also, something told me you know that you know that, that was, you know, would be work--working against me and, but just to believe that it would work out and it did. So, it was always an uphill. This was, this business was, 'cause I mean it was sort of unprecedented in terms of as I look back and what I was doing. There, there was not another dealer doing what I was doing that I could speak to, that I could get some tips from. I just learned as I went along. I tried to buy, and at that time in the '70s [1970s] very little documentation on black artists, so I purchased whatever I could in terms of catalogs, I mean you know I had just reams of now, whenever, even African sculpture I would just buy whatever books were available on African sculpture and the first book I knew that came out about black artists with the exception of an art, somebody from, from Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.]--now I can't think--his mind--I just can't think, in the '40s [1940s]. I can't think of the, the, the book now or the name of the person, but it'll come to me. But, after that there was no information and early '70s [1970s] there was a book or mid-'70s [1970s] that came out called 'The African American'--'Afro-American Artist' ['The Afro-American Artist: A Search For Identity'] by Elsa Honig Fine. And up to that point Bearden [Romare Bearden] did a lot of writing because again there was just this dearth of, of material. There was none available and so he contributed what he could. So, there were about two or three books that have been, you know, co-written, by Romare Bearden in the '70s [1970s]. So, I was just saying that there were, you know, very little information written, et cetera, and also no galleries, no galleries that specialized in African American art--

Stephanie Hughley

Stephanie Smith Hughley is executive producer and co-founder of the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the most important African American arts festivals in the world and founded in 1987. Hughley served as its Artistic Program Director until 1992. She returned to Atlanta in 1999 to revive the failing and debt stricken organization. Under her leadership, the festivals have expanded from a bi-annual summer arts festival to a yearly ten-day festival held during the month of July and a year round African arts cultural teaching institution, which includes an annual curriculum for teachers and students.

Hughley was born in Canton, Ohio to Lillie Mae and Robert Lee Smith, Sr. on October 16, 1948. She attended Kent State University with aspirations of becoming a medical doctor. While at Kent State, she was introduced to dance. Hughley moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1969 where she completed her studies and entered the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts. Hughley obtained her B.S. degree in biology from Northeastern University and her M.Ed. from Antioch College at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 1971, Hughley became a dance instructor and taught at Smith College as well as Northeastern, Brandeis and Harvard Universities. She danced with the Dance Theatre of Boston and the National Center of Afro American Artists. In 1976, Hughley moved to New York City, auditioned for a part in the Broadway production of Bubbling Brown Sugar, studied dance at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance and the Little Red School House and apprenticed under the directorship of Ashton Springer in order to expand her theatre management skills. She became General Manager of the Negro Ensemble Company in 1982. Hughley managed and supervised the production of over twelve Broadway shows including, Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God, Ain’t Misbehavin’ andBubbling Brown Sugar and toured the United States and Europe as the Company Manager of For Colored Girls.

In 1992, Hughley was Theatre and Dance Producer for the Atlanta Committee for the Cultural Olympiad for the 1996 Olympic Games. In 1996, she was commissioned to serve as Vice President of Programs for the newly formed New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Hughley returned to Atlanta in 1999 to become head of the Black Arts Festival.

Hughley serves on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition (MAACC) and the Atlanta Convention Center and Visitors Bureau. She has been a member of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers since 1977.

Hughley resides in the Atlanta area with her surviving son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren.

Accession Number

A2006.014

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/13/2006 |and| 2/15/2006

Last Name

Hughley

Maker Category
Schools

Mckinley High School

Washington Elementary School

Henry S. Martin Elementary School

Hartford Avenue School

Kent State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Stephanie

Birth City, State, Country

Massillon

HM ID

HUG05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sapello Island, Georgia

Favorite Quote

All Things Work Together For The Good Of Those That Love The Lord And Are Called According To His Purpose.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/16/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

Arts administrator and stage producer Stephanie Hughley (1948 - ) co-founder of the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the most important African American arts festivals in the world. Hughley is also a dancer and has taught dance at several universities. Hughley managed and supervised the production of over twelve Broadway shows including, Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God, Ain't Misbehavin' and Bubbling Brown Sugar.

Employment

Negro Ensemble Company

Theatre Management Associates

New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Cultural Olympiad

National Black Arts Festival

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Stephanie Hughley's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley describes her father, Robert Smith, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley describes segregation in Canton, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes her maternal grandmother, Lola Bradley

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley describes her maternal grandfather's farm, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley describes her maternal grandfather's farm, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley recounts stories of World War II and the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley remembers her maternal grandmother's house

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley describes holidays with her family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley describes the neighborhoods she grew up in

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley describes her childhood community in Canton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley speculates about her paternal grandmother's heritage

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the schools she attended

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her paternal grandmother's warning about skin color

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the support of her black teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley describes her childhood personality

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her family's trips to Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley describes her childhood hopes and aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley talks about her sister, Sharon Smith Curle

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes her childhood role models

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley describes the sports culture of Canton, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley remembers aspiring to be a doctor

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her love of dancing

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Stephanie Hughley recalls attending Kent State University in Kent, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Stephanie Hughley describes the political climate of Kent State University

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the Black Power movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley recalls the black student union at Kent State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley recalls Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley talks about her racial identity

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley explains why she moved to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley describes her life in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes her education in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley recalls beginning her career in dance

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley recalls moving to New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley explains how she earned a living early in her dance career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the dance classes she took in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her decision to become a manager on Broadway

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley remembers working with the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley describes the differences between producer and manager

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley recalls being asked to manage 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes touring with 'For Colored Girls'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley remembers marrying her second husband

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her theatrical productions' international tours

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers managing the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley shares the history of the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley recalls becoming the Negro Ensemble Company's general manager

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley remembers her decision to move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley recalls her impression of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley recalls becoming the National Black Arts Festival program manager

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley explains what she learned while planning the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Stephanie Hughley's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley describes the creation of the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley describes her friend, LaTanya Richardson

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley remembers contributors to the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the National Black Arts Festival parade

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the success of the first National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley recalls the artists at the first National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley explains the difference between African and European dance

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley describes the challenges faced by the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Stephanie Hughley remembers working on the 1996 Cultural Olympiad

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Stephanie Hughley narrates her photographs

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers introducing homeless students to a Norwegian poet

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the dance troupes she recruited for the Cultural Olympiad

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley remarks upon the variation in African arts

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the Celebrate Africa festival, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the Celebrate Africa festival, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley recalls consulting on the New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley remembers leaving the Cultural Olympiad planning committee

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley shares her memories of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley describes the ethnic communities of New Jersey

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley describes the New Jersey Performing Arts Center's success

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley remembers organizing the Africa Exchange program

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley recalls organizing festivals for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the importance of cultural exposure

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley remembers returning to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley recalls returning to the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley describes the educational component of the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley describes her hopes for the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the September 11 attacks

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the effects of the September 11 attacks

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley remembers the Diverse Voices, Collective Spirit holiday celebration

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the frequency and location of the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley recalls the themes of recent National Black Arts Festivals

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the National Black Arts Festival's twentieth anniversary

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Stephanie Hughley talks about celebrating African American pioneers

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Stephanie Hughley talks about her family's white ancestry

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Stephanie Hughley explains why she decided to share her story

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Stephanie Hughley offers advice to young people

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Stephanie Hughley describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Stephanie Hughley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Stephanie Hughley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Stephanie Hughley talks about the importance of The HistoryMakers

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Stephanie Hughley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$8

DATitle
Stephanie Hughley recalls being asked to manage 'For Colored Girls'
Stephanie Hughley explains what she learned while planning the National Black Arts Festival
Transcript
Okay, so what happened next? Where did you go from there (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, here I was in this union [Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM)]. And this young woman by the name of [HistoryMaker] Ntozake Shange had written a play called 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf.' And they had taken the play from California, I think they found it in the San Francisco [California] area, in the Bay area [San Francisco Bay Area, California], and brought it down to first Henry Street [Henry Street Settlement, New York, New York], Woodie King [HistoryMaker Woodie King, Jr.] was involved with it. And then they were--then they took it to The Public Theater [New York, New York] to the Shakespeare Festival [New York Shakespeare Festival; Shakespeare in the Park], Joseph Papp was the producer there. And he was working with a general manager by the name of Manny Azenberg [Emanuel Azenberg]. And they decided to take the show to Broadway. But Ntozake had told them that she wanted a black woman company manager. Well they weren't able to--there were, there were none 'cause the only black woman company manager [Carolyne A. Jones] was doing 'Bubbling Brown Sugar' [Loften Mitchell]. And they opened the show on Broadway and they decided that they were gonna take a company out on the road. And Ntozake told them that they were absolutely not taking out that company without a black woman manager. So I had met Joe Papp. He was certainly the impresario of Broadway. And he and Manny Azenberg took me lunch one day and asked me would I consider taking this show out on the road as the company manager. And I said, "Well, I'm only an apprentice." And they said, "Well, we'll hold the contract, we're in the union, we'll hold the contract. And you'll go take the show out." Now my union got wind of this and they were like you can't take a show out on the road, you're only an apprentice, you've only been an apprentice for a year and you have to apprentice for three years. And Joe and Manny, they said, "Listen, they can't stop you." And so I decided to take the show. So I went out on the road with the first national company. I got trained in New York [New York] at the Broadway theater, the Booth Theatre. And we had auditions there and hired all the women. But I went out on the road as the first, the first national company of 'For Colored Girls.' I was the company manager. It was funny too because at first I said to them, "Are you paying me the full salary?" And they said, "Well, but you're not really in the union." And I said, "But I'm doing the work." And they said "Okay."$$So they paid you.$$They paid me the full salary. And my goodness, this was in 1977. And you know my goodness, they were making like, I forgot like seven hundred dollars a week. Good grief, I went from poverty to, you know, to the big house.$$You're not joking. That was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That was serious.$$--good money.$$Those girls were making more than that. The actresses were making outrageous sums of money, plus per diem, you know, two, three hundred dollars a week per diem. So we were all in heaven. And the show as a phenomena. It--nobody knew what it was. We went all over this country, to all the A cities, Washington [D.C.], Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], Chicago [Illinois], Detroit [Michigan], you know, Wilmington [Delaware], all over the country. And nobody knew what it was. They couldn't pro- they couldn't even pronounce the title. We would go to the box office and collect all of the names. The box office treasurer would write down the names of all the names people, 'For Black Girls who Killed Themselves,' you know. But we had a phenomenal company.$$And how long did you stay on the road with it?$$We stayed on the road--well I stayed on the road with them over a year. And then I actually met my second husband [Thomas Hughley, Jr.] touring through Chicago. And one of the lead actresses, LaTanya Richardson, introduced me to him. They had gone to Spelman [Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia] and Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia] together. And I met him and he proposed to me and I left the company and actually married him some months later. But that was a pretty amazing tour. It was, it was a phenomena, that's all I can tell you. In every city we made more money. It was outrageous.$You talk about finally getting connected to my African centeredness. I think the National Black Arts Festival did that more than anything else in my life.$$And how so would you say that occurred?$$Well, there was a man by the name of Worth Long who lives here still.$$And it's Worth, W-O-R-T.$$W-O-R-T-H Long, L-O-N-G. He has since been named a Heritage [National Heritage Fellowships] award winner from Smithsonian [sic. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)]. But I met Worth Long, and Worth Long started to teach me about African American history. He took me over to the Sea Islands. He took me down in the backwoods of Mississippi and Alabama. I met people that were playing spoons and one string guitars and I learned about shape note singing and lining in--$$What note singing is that?$$Shape note singing and lining in hymn singing. Shape notes, do, do, do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, do-do, re-re, you know, shape note singing. I learned about lining in hymn singing, that that's what my [maternal] grandfather [Ciscero Bradley] and all those people down in--on that Alabama farm in Luverne, outside of Luverne, Alabama. Rural route box number. And that old church when one person would start singing--and then everybody would sing right behind him. I learned so many things from Worth Long. From folks at the Smithsonian Institution [Washington, D.C.], you know, about African American history. I knew my grandmothers, but I didn't know my grandmothers' grandmothers', and where they came from, and, and I didn't under--I didn't know about the Great Migration, you know. I didn't know about--I didn't even care to know about all that history going back and how a slave owner had raped the enslaved women in the house and, and how my family went from dark, dark black to white. I didn't even care about any of that until I got into the National Black Arts Festival and I started to meet the people who were rooted and grounded in the history. And I was amazed at how many people who live in Atlanta [Georgia] have never been to the Sea Islands. They didn't know about the African retention of culture in those Sea Island people. And so I saw this incredible opportunity to bridge Africa and African American history in a way that had not been really done in this country before, through music, dance, theater, film, visual art, performing art, literary art and folk art. People came from all over the world, and they came from all over this country. And they converged around this incredible celebration. I started working March or March of 1987 and we did the first festival in July of 1988. It was the end of July, beginning of August. And boy, we decided the first festival was gonna focus on the Harlem Renaissance. And it was funny because when they decided to call the National Black Arts Festival, the only thing I would have still done differently with that title. A lot of people say you shouldn't call it black, you should, you know. Only thing I would have changed would have been the International Black Arts Festival. Because there's no way that you could tell the story about African American people and not begin in Africa. So I have these incredible opportunities to travel to Africa for the first time. I got off that plane and kissed the ground in Ghana and in Senegal where I saw the people who were looking like my [paternal] grandmother's [Zella Smith] people who I decided were from Sapelo Island in Georgia, all the way up to today. I saw the continuum of African people, and I realized that we as African Americans, we were the most ignorant about it all because we had been so brainwashed into believing that Africa was the dark continent. When I got there, it was the brightest continent I'd ever seen in all of my travels. It was the most colorful, the most brilliant, the most, the most incredible sounds and smells and, and I realized that this festival was important. That it was important for us to do it. It was important for us to have this moment in time to go back and reflect and, and build the bridge. And build the bridge not only from African to this country, but from this country into our everyday lives. To bring the art back to the people. And I realized that art was just this very marginalized term in this country. That art was a picture on a wall. An artist was a singer or a painter. But in fact art was just one expression of culture, and that this was really about culture and creativity. If you boil it all down to its basic common denominator, it's about culture and creativity. 'Cause everybody has culture and everybody has creativity. And art was just one manifestation of those two things. And so for me you know, that's why I took on the National Black Arts Festival and I guess that's why I'm still here.

Barbara Ann Teer

Founder and CEO of the National Black Theatre, Inc., Barbara Ann Teer was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on June 18, 1937, to a family of educators and leaders in the field of community development. After graduating magna cum laude with her degree in dance education from the University of Illinois, Teer moved to New York City to begin her career as an actress, dancer, and director.

In the 1960s, Teer left show business to begin teaching at Harlem's Wadleigh Junior High School; her methods helped to develop the Group Theatre Workshop, which became the foundation for the world renowned Negro Ensemble Company. In 1968, Teer founded the National Black Theatre with the aim of maintaining and developing African American cultural traditions. In 1983, Teer expanded the purpose and vision of the National Black Theatre by purchasing a 64,000 square foot city block of property on 125th Street and Fifth Avenue, creating the first revenue generating black art complex in the country by housing several entrepreneurial businesses.

In May 1994, Teer was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Rochester, New York; in 1995, she received an honorary doctorate degree of humane letters from the University of Southern Illinois. Teer is included in Who's Who Worldwide, which recognizes her as a global business leader and has received more than sixty awards and citations. Teer passed away on July 21, 2008 at the age of 71. She leaves behind two children: her son, Michael F. Lythcott, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University's Business School and her daughter, Barbara A. Lythcott, is a graduate of New York University.

Dr. Barbara Ann Teer passed away on July 21, 2008, at the age of seventy-one.

Accession Number

A2005.126

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/6/2005

Last Name

Teer

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ann

Occupation
Schools

Dunbar Elem School

Bennett College for Women

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

TEE01

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Thailand

Favorite Quote

Right On.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/18/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Death Date

7/21/2008

Short Description

Arts administrator Barbara Ann Teer (1937 - 2008 ) was the founder and chief director of the National Black Theater, whose mission was to maintain and develop African American cultural traditions. Teer was recognized as a global business leader, receiving more than sixty awards and citations.

Employment

National Black Theatre

Wadleigh Junior High School

Favorite Color

Blue, Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Ann Teer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her parents' family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls attending Bennett College for a year

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her training in dance and theatre

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls her sister's activism and her decision to leave acting

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer describes growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer describes herself as a child and her experience with racism

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her schooling in East St. Louis, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer remembers the pressure to adapt to mainstream culture

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her childhood home in East St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her neighborhood in East St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls notable figures from East St. Louis, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls attending church and school in East St. Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls traveling in Europe after college

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls her experience at New York City's Henry Street Settlement

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience as a theatre actress

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer contrasts her modern dance training to black dance

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls writing for The New York Times

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes founding the Group Theatre Workshop

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes co-founding the Black Arts Movement in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer describes Harlem in the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer talks about The Last Poets

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer talks about Amiri Baraka

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls playwrights Historymaker Paul Carter Harrison and Joseph Walker

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon black theatre

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her role in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience in Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the spirituality of her work

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience at FESTAC in Nigeria in 1977

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer describes her experience visiting Nigeria in 1977 and 1984

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the black arts and theatre community

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her life and career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer describes the transformation of Harlem, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the gentrification of Harlem, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls FESTAC in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls meeting Malcolm X

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Ann Teer recalls HistoryMaker Melvin Van Peebles and divorcing Godfrey Cambridge

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the need to re-interpret black history

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the power of theatre

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Barbara Ann Teer reflects upon the sustainability of the National Black Theatre

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Barbara Ann Teer narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Barbara Ann Teer narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Barbara Ann Teer describes her training in dance and theatre
Barbara Ann Teer describes the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company
Transcript
So, when I graduated, summa cum [summa cum laude], from the University of Illinois [University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois], I was shipped off to Europe. And I studied there with everybody you can think of because of who I was within the dance profession. Now, I left Europe after Switzerland, and London [England], and, and the whole thing. Now, I came to New York [New York] to work on my master's [degree] at Sarah Lawrence [Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York]. But I was bored with school because I never saw anything that represented where I came from. It was a different, a different kind of culture. And I did well. However, when Pearl Primus came to the University of Illinois with her drummers, and her husband was Percival Borde. All these people are probably dead now--I mean, they're not probably--they are. There were five hundred young women in this gym for this master class of Pearl Bailey--I mean, Pearl, Pearl Primus. Actually, I work with Pearl Bailey. And she started playing the drums, and I just went crazy. And everybody else didn't know what was happening and I did, and I said, oh, I have to go somewhere and do what my heart is pumping. So, I went to Pearl Primus. I came to New York. I stayed at the Henry Street Playhouse [Henry Street Settlement; Henry Street Settlement, New York, New York] with Alwin Nikolais, which was, again, a derivative of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham--all those names. I mean, I was really in that profession until I hurt my knee. My daddy [Fred Teer] was a coach. He came to New York to try to help me with my knee. And I met all these wonderful actors who were in 'Raisin in the Sun' ['A Raisin in the Sun,' Lorraine Hansberry], and because one of the leads in 'Raisin in the Sun' came from St. Louis [Missouri]. The rest is history. Lonne Elder [Lonne Elder III], Lorraine Hansberry, Sidney Poitier, [HistoryMaker] Robert Hooks--all of these people became my friends, and my whatever. And I left the dance profession after travelling with Alvin Ailey, and [HistoryMaker] Louis Johnson, and going to Brazil. I mean, I did a whole lot of stuff. And then, I came into the world of theater and acting, studied with Sanford Meisner, and Philip Burton, and Paul Mann, and Lloyd Richardson. You name it, you name it, you name it, until finally, my instructor at the time was Sanford Meisner, who was the most important acting teacher. And, of course, at that time, everybody was talking about Stanislavski [Konstantin Stanislavski] and the message and, and Lee Strasberg, and all that stuff. And Sandy Knox [ph.] said, "You know, Barbara [HistoryMaker Barbara Ann Teer], you don't need to study anymore, you need to work--"$And it was so powerful 'cause I--first thing I choreographed and designed a piece, which now Ntozake [HistoryMaker Ntozake Shange] calls it choreopoems. But those days, I took a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, which was eight lines, called 'We Real Cool,' and I developed it into a whole evening. Well, Joe Pappa [Joseph Papp] was a big deal at the time. He's now dead too, Public Theater [New York, New York]--he saw it, and he loved it, and he wanted me to come and do something for him. And I said no. But he put 'We Real Cool' on the mobile unit that toured all the boroughs of New York [New York]. So, all my little kids who were 14, 13, so got to get a taste of show business. That was the beginning of the Negro Ensemble Company. So, when Douglas Turner [HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Ward] wrote an article ['American Theater: For Whites Only?' Douglas Turner Ward] for The New York Times about black people in theatre--he called it Negroes--he got a lot of opportunities to get grants. But we were in the Village [Greenwich Village, New York, New York] at St. Mark's theatre [St. Mark's Playhouse, New York, New York], and we were doing Imamu's [Amiri Baraka] plays. And I was just acting all over the place. So, what happened was when they got that first big grant from the Ford Foundation [New York, New York], they changed up on me. It was called the Negro Ensemble Company, and I--that was just offensive to me. It's black, like we're going to call it Negro, you know. It was in the Village. I thought it should be in the black community--like that. And they were picking plays that didn't have anything to do with the culture that I knew. So, I left them--my friends, I left them. I'm always leaving people. I left them and I came to Harlem [New York, New York]. With the reputation of wanting to start an authentic black theatre company, not one in the Village, but one in Harlem.