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Thaddeus Mosley

Sculptor Thaddeus Gilmore Mosley was born on July 23, 1926 in New Castle, Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the U.S. Navy. Mosley graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in English and journalism in 1950.

Mosley began working for the U.S. Postal Service. During the 1950s, while at the Postal Service, Mosley began writing freelance for The Pittsburgh Courier and for several other national publications. At this time, he also began making sculptures. In 1968, he had his first solo exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art. He credits sculptors Constantin Bruncusi and Isamu Noguchi as his earliest influences. His commissions include, Three Rivers bench in 2003 for the David L. Lawrence Convention Center; Legends at the Susquehanna Museum; and an exhibition at the Cue Art Foundation Gallery. His most famous sculptures are the 14’ cedar Phoenix located at the corner of Centre Avenue and Dinwiddie in Pittsburgh’s Hill District and the “Mountaintop” Limestone at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in the Hill District at Herron and Milwaukee Streets.

Mosley wrote Thaddeus Mosley: African-American Sculptor with a narrative by David Lewis that was published by the Carnegie Museum of Art in 1997.

Mosley was named the Artist of the Year and was awarded the Governor’s Award, the Cultural Award, and the Service in the Arts Award by the Pittsburgh Center of the Arts. Mosley has been an officer for the Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors and a board member of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

Mosley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 11, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.102

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/11/2008

Last Name

Mosley

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

University of Pittsburgh

West Side Elementary School

New Castle Junior/Senior High School

George Washington Intermediate School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Thaddeus

Birth City, State, Country

New Castle

HM ID

MOS05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

There's No Vice Like Advice.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

7/23/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pittsburgh

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Sculptor Thaddeus Mosley (1926 - ) created pieces that were commissioned by Pittsburgh cultural institutions like the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the Susquehanna Museum and the Cue Art Foundation Gallery.

Employment

United States Postal Service

U.S. Navy

Pittsburgh Courier

Favorite Color

Blue, Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:420,7:4452,178:8904,261:23856,578:24192,583:34843,677:35248,683:36301,707:48046,887:49180,906:53570,913:119050,1746:120095,1762:121520,1776:132552,1888:163475,2293:170110,2324:175340,2368$0,0:2465,39:10115,166:35547,533:36371,543:42654,618:43478,629:45435,648:65555,812:65930,818:72455,926:72980,934:77555,1024:93980,1235:100976,1324:129175,1638:129940,1645:155944,1978:156756,1991:157336,1997:177024,2242:180682,2285:185992,2342:202278,2509:219402,2704:220314,2725:220770,2732:231222,2843:245650,3072:253398,3144:255990,3188:259734,3258:269890,3370
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thaddeus Mosley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thaddeus Mosley lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about his mother's upbringing and employment

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers his maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers his paternal aunt

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about his father's literary interests

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his parents' personalities and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thaddeus Mosley describes the No. 5 Mine community in Elbon, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls his family's move from Elbon, Pennsylvania to New Castle, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thaddeus Mosley describes the sights and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls his early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers segregation in New Castle, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his early interest in drawing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls his early musical interests

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about his high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers the servicemen at Naval Station Great Lakes in Lake County, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Thaddeus Motley recalls the African American athletes he met in the U.S. Navy, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls the African American athletes he met in the U.S. Navy, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers his neighbor who wrote Western fiction

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls his experiences in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers coaching basketball in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about the Japanese holdouts after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls his experiences of segregation in restaurants

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers enrolling at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about the economy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about the economy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers the Pittsburgh Courier

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls his interest in magazine journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about his various occupations

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his early career at the U.S. Post Office Department

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about the Nunn family

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers photographer Charles "Teenie" Harris

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Thaddeus Mosley describes the development of his artistic interests

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about his early sculptures

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls the theft of his sculpture of Dizzy Gillespie

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about the concepts of weight and space in sculpture

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his work schedule

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls his early art exhibitions

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his interest in African tribal art

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his sculpting materials and process

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about the dearth of wood carving instruction

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Thaddeus Mosley compares wood carving to jazz composition

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about playwright August Wilson

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thaddeus Mosley describes the diversity of his sculptures

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thaddeus Mosley reflects upon his career as a sculptor

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thaddeus Mosley talks about the importance of education

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thaddeus Mosley recalls his exhibition opportunities

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thaddeus Mosley describes the origin of the Pittsburgh Crawfords

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thaddeus Mosley remembers the Negro League baseball players of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thaddeus Mosley reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thaddeus Mosley describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Thaddeus Mosley reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Thaddeus Mosley describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Thaddeus Mosley narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

9$3

DATitle
Thaddeus Mosley describes the development of his artistic interests
Thaddeus Mosley talks about the concepts of weight and space in sculpture
Transcript
So you would develop--you'd write your story, develop your own photos--$$Um-hm.$$--and get 'em over there [to the Pittsburgh Courier; New Pittsburgh Courier] (laughter).$$Yeah.$$That took twenty hours a week, right?$$Yeah.$$So, so now how did--now when did you start doing artwork? Now what, what inspired you to do artwork?$$Well growing--I've always liked art, you know. And one time when I was young I thought I'd like to be a painter, you know like most people think about stuff. But by going to Carnegie [Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] and stuff, but what really propelled me was in the early '50s [1950s] when the Scandinavian, Scandinavian designs first came out, well I bought some of the furniture, and all the brochures had--and also the photo display, furniture displays, they had decorative sculpture, birds and fish and stuff. So I decided I could do that and I started making some of my own. And then I got really reading about Brancusi [Constantin Brancusi] and I never--I didn't know who Brancusi was. I didn't know what African art was. But I was taking a class in Western civilization and I guess in my sophomore year, might have been my junior year. And I don't know if you know Horace Parlan, the piano player. He's very--he lives in Denmark, but he played with Mingus [Charles Mingus] and played with Lou Dawes [ph.]. He played with a lot of people. But he was at Pitt [University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] the same time I was and we were in the same class. And we were looking at taking this class and they were talking about African art influence on Brancusi. The first time I'd ever really noticed an African art. And that became one of my big influences insofar as art was concerned. But doing art was when I decided to make some of my own decorative stuff from looking at the Scandinavian displays. And I bought Scandinavian art in the early '50s [1950s].$$Okay. So Brancusi was influenced by African sculpture.$$Yeah, yeah.$$And you know, I think a lot of people have heard this, Picasso [Pablo Picasso] was actually influenced by African art too.$$Well, Picasso--painting, but, but sculpture wise, Brancusi, Jacques Lipchitz. Everyone from around that period where African tribal art was what really turned in my mind, the Western art, totally around, you know, was the, the big catalyst.$When you started sculpting, I mean how long did it take you to, I guess get to the style you pres- I mean--or I might, I might be being presumptuous here, but do you have like a style that you developed?$$Yeah.$$And when did you develop your signature style of sculpting?$$Well I would imagine I didn't get to where I am now 'til about in, in, in the, in the late, in the '60s [1960s]. I had a show at the Carnegie [Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] in '68 [1968]. So the idea of the weight and space philosophy, I didn't do that 'til the late '60s [1960s] I would imagine.$$Okay, so you call it the weight and space.$$Weight and space. It's a spatial concept where the thing may look like it's floating; the heaviest part is up and not down. So it's just called weight and space.$$So these, these pieces are I take it they're balanced where they--$$Well they're fitted together and then there, and there, there's some balance, yeah.$$I mean I, what I'm getting at is what makes 'em stay up if they look like they're kind of off, you know?$$Well they have a center of gravity and, and they're either pinned or fitted so that they're stable, you know. And they have a broad enough base that it, it, it supports, it supports.$$Okay. Now do you, did you develop that concept yourself?$$No, it is, it is a rather common concept, but just done in different ways, you know. It's like if you want to say in jazz, swing there's not just one swing, although say like Armstrong [Louis Armstrong] was like the first great swing and everything set the style for swing and also style for solo style. But there's a lot of other styles beyond you know, what Armstrong 'course got from Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania]. Eldridge, they called Little Jazz, came--patterned himself after--$$Roy Eldridge?$$Roy, Roy Eldridge. He was a north sider, not too far from here he lived. And then Dizzy, Dizzy Gillespie copied, patterned himself off of Roy Eldridge. So that--you have that. So it isn't just a one--a one id- one idea of a concept there; it can be many ideas that spring from. There's a lot of people that do weight and space. Particularly Brancusi [Constantin Brancusi], weight and space (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So is it analogous to jazz in the sense that--$$Not really. The, the, the only analogy to jazz would be the people who are more--that improvise more in art. They don't do models, they just may start with an idea. And of course there's a lot of artists that name the things from jazz, but you know, it, it's more a, as I say, like Stuart Davis, (unclear), there's a book called 'Seeing Jazz' ['Seeing Jazz: Artists and Writers on Jazz'], and it's a lot of artists from every stripe down to people like Raymond Saunders, [HistoryMaker] Sam Gilliam and, and there's people that painted or sculpted with, with, with maybe rhythmic or feeling of jazz and so forth, you know.$$Now do you, do you--well I heard that you actually sculpt with music on. You play with music (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Not often, no.$$Oh, you don't? Okay.$$Because I don't know, I play, I play music before I start working. But once I start working, I don't hear anything because it's a pounding sound (laughter). You're not gonna listen to music while hammering--hitting a mallet and hitting a, hitting a, using a mallet to hit a gauge or a chisel, no.

Sam Gilliam

The career of painter Sam Gilliam has spanned decades and mediums, using paint, draped canvas and plastics to help influence numerous schools of art. Sam Gilliam, Jr., was born on November 30, 1933, in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Sam, a railroad worker and Estery, a maternal engineer. The seventh of eight children, Gilliam and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, shortly after he was born. As a child, Gilliam always enjoyed painting and was actively encouraged by his teachers.

In 1951, Gilliam graduated from Central High School and attended the University of Louisville. In 1955, he received his B.A. degree in fine art, and also held his first solo art exhibition. Gilliam entered the U.S. Army in 1956 and served for two years. Following his discharge, he returned to the University of Louisville. After three years of graduate school, Gilliam received his M.A. degree in painting in 1961. On September 1, 1962, Gilliam married Washington Post reporter Dorothy Butler in Louisville, and shortly thereafter moved to Washington, D.C.

In 1963, artist Thomas Downing introduced Gilliam to the Washington Color School, which was defined by bold colors. Two years later, Gilliam contributed his own innovation to the school by displaying unframed painted canvases, which allowed the work to flow naturally with the architecture of the display space. In 1971, Gilliam boycotted a show at the Whitney Art Museum in New York City in solidarity with the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, in criticism that the museum did not consult black art experts in the selection of artists.

In 1973, Gilliam created for the San Francisco Museum of Art the free-standing piece Autumn Surf , which consisted of acrylic sheeting hung over wooden support beams to give the impression of waves. By 1975, he had moved away from draped canvases to geometric collages, most notably the Black Paintings and the White Collage Paintings. Also, in 1975, Gilliam created Seahorses, his first outdoor piece, for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 1983, Gilliam was featured in his first major retrospective at the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, D.C. In the new millennium, Gilliam has continued to work with birch plywood and metal forms as structural elements. Though his work is featured in galleries throughout the world and he is a self-sustaining artist, Gilliam is committed to teaching youth the foundations of art and has worked in numerous facilities including Washington, D.C., Public Schools, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland.

Gilliam has received honorary degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Louisville; a Norman W. Harris Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago; two National Endowment of the Arts Awards; and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Gilliam’s studio is located in the historic Shaw neighborhood in Washington, D.C. He and his ex-wife have three daughters (Stephanie, Melissa and Leah) and three grandchildren.

Accession Number

A2008.099

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/28/2008

Last Name

Gilliam

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Louisville Central High School Magnet Career Academy

Virginia Avenue School

Madison Street Junior High School

University of Louisville

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Weekends

First Name

Sam

Birth City, State, Country

Tupelo

HM ID

GIL05

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Specifics: Teens or adults. Why art?

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

November

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience Specifics: Teens or adults. Why art?

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Yes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

11/30/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sardines

Short Description

Painter Sam Gilliam (1933 - ) emerged from the Washington Color School to work in various painting styles and influence numerous schools of art. He created works for the San Francisco and Philadelphia Museums of Art, and won two National Endowment of the Arts Awards and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3218,77:3834,82:6562,140:35152,254:35568,259:45057,306:57990,521:129952,909:130342,915:136696,968:138482,994:146380,1076:146632,1081:149026,1185:149593,1196:156420,1250:168590,1399:174138,1496:174670,1504:175354,1516:175658,1521:177254,1550:179990,1596:188230,1689:188510,1694:202290,1897:221912,2079:224288,2093:226738,2136:228110,2158:229090,2173:229482,2182:234872,2283:237518,2334:241772,2342:242318,2354:242942,2363:243332,2369:245126,2401:247154,2414:247466,2419:254998,2495:256065,2508:258102,2539:259900,2546$0,0:17296,270:19596,294:20240,302:23368,344:25392,375:33614,413:41594,540:49322,670:49910,678:50414,685:57342,763:69795,867:71670,878:72670,892:73070,897:73670,904:75470,933:76070,940:76570,947:77170,954:77670,961:90960,1116:91385,1122:101380,1236:107760,1304:111408,1335:117175,1468:144798,1746:231293,2788:232455,2808:263919,3171:271834,3298:274666,3315:275842,3327:285630,3437
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sam Gilliam's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sam Gilliam lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sam Gilliam describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sam Gilliam describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sam Gilliam talks about his parents' move to Tupelo, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sam Gilliam remembers his home in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sam Gilliam describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sam Gilliam describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sam Gilliam describes the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sam Gilliam describes the sights, smells and sounds of his childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sam Gilliam remembers his early exposure to jazz music

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sam Gilliam recalls his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sam Gilliam remembers his aspiration to become a cartoonist

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sam Gilliam talks about his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sam Gilliam recalls his experiences at Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sam Gilliam describes his extracurricular activities at Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sam Gilliam recalls his decision to attend the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sam Gilliam remembers Muhammad Ali and his family, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sam Gilliam remembers Muhammad Ali and his family, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sam Gilliam talks about his experiences at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sam Gilliam remembers majoring in art and education at the University of Louisville

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sam Gilliam describes his experiences in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sam Gilliam describes his experiences in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sam Gilliam remembers his graduate studies at the University of Louisville

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sam Gilliam talks about the art of African American slaves

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sam Gilliam recalls his M.F.A. degree program at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sam Gilliam talks about his favorite cartoonists and comic strips

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sam Gilliam describes the early African American artists

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sam Gilliam talks about his disinterest in representational art

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sam Gilliam describes his favorite figurative artists

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sam Gilliam reflects upon the value of figurative art

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sam Gilliam reflects upon the value of black art

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sam Gilliam reflects upon the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sam Gilliam describes the beginning of his career as a painter

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sam Gilliam talks about his early success

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sam Gilliam describes his creative process

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sam Gilliam talks about his favorite landscape painters

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sam Gilliam describes his art career in Paris, France

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sam Gilliam reflects upon his artwork

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sam Gilliam describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sam Gilliam talks about the limitations of history and geography education

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sam Gilliam reflects upon his teaching career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sam Gilliam talks about his children

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sam Gilliam talks about the role of women in the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sam Gilliam narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Sam Gilliam describes his creative process
Sam Gilliam describes his art career in Paris, France
Transcript
Tell me about your philosophy of art and what you're trying to do with your, your work and what, you know, what mediums do you use and, and what are you trying to achieve with, with what you're doing?$$I don't know if I--I don't have a philosophy. I do know that, that, that--let's talk about the mediums first. I use--I use acrylic. I use acrylic and acrylic mediums, which is to say that I use gel medium, acrysol. Acrysol's a concrete hardener. I, I, I use painting as an idea, not as a subject. By that, I mean that I use an idea of painting immediately and then after. I mean I find out what I'm actually going to do next by what I've done now. I keep it very, very open. I think that it's like the first Miles Davis record I had, 'Sketches of Spain,' is that I know the icon and I have the icon. The icon is painting. And that I make it, I make it freely, and then I make it again as another issue after I've done it. And which makes a very pleasant time now, because I'm not showing, I'm just painting. But one of the things that's essential is that what, what happened in college [University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky] that was very stimulating was that working on paper. And since then is that I've--I think the idea first formed on paper, not as a sketch, but as a finish, become a finished painting. The one thing in paper is that you don't have to gesso paper. Paper has a hard surface and isn't absorbent, so therefore you would say the paint stays up. It doesn't take a very long time to dry. So it's just a matter of using that surface to go to another surface, and that surface can be either a glazed surface or it can be an opaque surface. So this becomes a painting. And I think that in looking at painting I see this. I mean I see how in Bearden [Romare Bearden], it is paintings with the lady in the door. I see an open surface of paper has the door as a frame, the woman in the door and things like this. It makes the painting. The painting is sort of, it moves and it's transitional. I don't think that--I collect African sculpture. I notice how the sculptures are actually put together. It's not a single carving from the tree. It's very interesting that some of the carvings from the Sepik and the coast of Australia are single carved things. But our carving is made and made to work and it probably comes from the law of wax process, or some process that comes from material of casting. So actually is that I think more about how something is made, you know, and that, that making.$So that the thing is that mostly I remember painting in an alley down here in 1968, the day that--or the time that King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was assassinated. And that I think that the first painting I made I named 'April 4th' [Sam Gilliam]. But one thing that I realize is walking through that alley among all those garage shops, I used to see how those people actually struggled just to fix cars and things like this, the chances they take. And that the chances that you want to take in life are precise chances. If it's a stroke that you're putting against a tree to knock it down, that's what you want to do. You don't have time to talk about someone else's subject, you know? You have to concentrate on what you're doing and what the purpose is. So that's what I do. And that's the art. I mean that, that is, that is totally the art. Sometimes, sometimes the real things that you want to do may take twenty years, thirty years, long time. And that you, you just play back and forth. But I think the one thing that is more important is having a place where I can sit, you know, and think about what I want to do next or what it is. I also have a lot of associates. These are my buddies who live very close to me, architects and things like this. It is surprising how smart they are, you know? But what we don't talk about is that why did you get to here or why did you get to there. Of course there's those kind of circumstances that you have to think about. I've shown--I've shown--proudest thing--I've shown in, in Paris [France] for forty years. I got to know Beauford Delaney. I got to know a number of artists that showed in Paris. I showed a lot with French artists in this sense so that--or even with artists from the Dominican Republican--Republic. And when you go in and out you see them so that you see at least the, the sacrifice that's made to art and what it really means. And you see the way that they change. Many of the French artists are now doing conceptual art. And because the museum is being built for them by, by (Unclear), they've been off--out of the limelight for a long time. I mean really things haven't gone so well and that's because that people don't appreciate who they are and that there's been a lot of tension in a sense between them. In the meantime, is that I've had a chance to teach at a French university and that it's interesting to see their facilities. But one of the reasons why that they haven't made it is that the limelight became based on socialism or the Russian town for art, (Unclear) de Paris, grew more. Their freedom was actually stole, you know? So that you see is that if, if you begin to part something, an idea next to my studio and things like this and I can't fill it, I don't like it, you know? Because artists, artists don't grow from any artists, or from any art. I know that one of the things that was great about being an abstract artist here was that a lot of those artists, white artists grew from jazz. They grew from the blues. When we went to see the March on Washington 1963, a buddy, a friend who was white called me, said, "You better take me with you tomorrow morning," he says, "because I know Reverend King is going to say a lot of things that I need." So that in a sense is that in trouble you only need, you know, one sense or one message or one sort of feeling. So that's where, where I'm coming from.

Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly

Sculptor Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly was born on September 11, 1937 in Crenshaw, Mississippi to Mattie Louise Williams and Floyd Pitchford. Jolly received her B.A. degree from Roosevelt University in 1961 and her M.A. degree from Governors State University in 1974, both in the State of Illinois.

From 1961 to 1965, Pitchford-Jolly taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. She worked as teacher and director at the Chicago Youth Center Head Start from 1965 to 1969. Pitchford-Jolly then worked as program director at the Chicago Commons from 1969 to 1974. In 1974, she worked as a professor of ceramic at Chicago State University and the education coordinator of the Suburban Health System Agency until 1981. From 1981 to 1985, she was a self-taught ceramic artist and sculptor at the Press Artisan 21 Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. Pitchford-Jolly received an award in the Best Of Category at the Museum of Science and Industry in 1984. In 1986, she was recognized as a Top Ten Emerging Black Chicago Artist. A year later, Pitchford-Jolly worked as a curator at the Saphire and Crystals Black Women’s Art Exhibition. Her profile was featured in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine and worked as an artist-in-residence for the Lakeside Group in 1988. Her work was also featured in the 2005 Chicago Woman’s Caucus for Art. In 2008, Pitchford-Jolly and David Philpot’s clay pots and carved wooden staffs were showcased in the “Kindred Spirits” Exhibit at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. Her art is also exhibited and sold at the Esther Saks Gallery and was seen in Columbia Motion Pictures film, Date Night 7.

Pitchford-Jolly served on the board of directors of Urban Traditions in 1984 and the Chicago Cultural Center in 1986; a board member of the African American Rountable in 1985; and on the Exhibition Committee at the Chicago Cultural Center. In addition, Pitchford-Jolly volunteered at the Southside Community Art Center. Also, she is the founder of the Mude People’s Black Women’s Resources Sharing Workshop.

Pitchford-Jolly lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Pitchford-Jolly was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 15, 2008.

Marva Pitchford-Jolly passed away on October 21, 2012.

Accession Number

A2008.086

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/15/2008

Last Name

Pitchford-Jolly

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lee

Occupation
Schools

Francis Parkman Elementary School

Northern Illinois University

Englewood High School

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marva

Birth City, State, Country

Crenshaw

HM ID

PIT02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Guadalajara, Mexico

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

9/11/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

10/21/2012

Short Description

Sculptor Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly (1937 - 2012 ) was a tenured professor of ceramics at Chicago State University. She was recognized as one of the Top Ten Emerging Black Chicago Artists of 1986, and her works have been exhibited numerous times.

Employment

Suburban Cook-DuPage County Health Systems Agency

Chicago State University

Head Start

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls the community of Crenshaw, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls the community of Crenshaw, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her paternal grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers the Great Depression

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her parents' courtship

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes the smells and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes the sights of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her home in Crenshaw, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her relationship with her twin sister

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her schooling in Crenshaw, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls her bedtime routine

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her first grade teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her early interest in art

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her childhood friends

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes race relations in Crenshaw, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her mother's death

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls moving to her aunt's home in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her black history education

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers her counselors at Englewood High School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her graduation from Englewood High School

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls working at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls transferring to Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her marriage

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her art and music collection

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers the atmosphere of Roosevelt University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her work in community organizing

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls joining the faculty of Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers teaching at Chicago State University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about the South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes the Sapphire and Crystals art collective, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes the Sapphire and Crystals art collective, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her involvement in arts organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her philosophy of art

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her story pot about Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her artistic inspiration

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her story pots

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly recalls her travels in Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her residency in Zambia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her sculpture, 'Old People Say'

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers the sale of an early story pot sculpture

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about the spiritual component of her artwork

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her friends and family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly shares the 'Women of the World' story pot sculpture

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly talks about her youngest brother

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly remembers teaching at Chicago State University
Marva Lee Pitchford-Jolly describes her story pot about Hurricane Katrina
Transcript
And I worked as a part timer until '89 [1989], but a lot of different things were happening. But that's the only thing you need to know. And we were changing presidents, you know. We had a couple of them during that period of time. Ayers [George E. Ayers] was, was one, and he left, and then we had some interim folks, you know. Chicago State was a mess. Let's just put it like that. And I didn't--I was debating whether or not--I have a tendency to really get hooked into things. So I was debating whether or not I am going to get hooked into teaching at Chicago State, I mean, because tenure track, I don't know what people think tenure track is, but that's a lot of work and a lot of documentation. So I just kept saying no. I just kept saying no. And in 1990, when Dolores Cross [HistoryMaker Dolores E. Cross] came, that's when the talks got really, really serious. We didn't have a lot of--people didn't know this, but the bulk of Chicago State's faculty was also white up until the early '90s [1990s], you know. And then it was about 60/40 [percent], maybe, black/white. It, it made a flip-flop, but even now. I think there are some advantages to it; I mean, I really do. I think that students really ought to be exposed to a lot of different kind of teachers. And the ones that--we kind of hung on to the ones that want to be there. The ones who don't are gone, you know. They kind of get tenure, and then they go someplace else. But when she came and talked to me about it, you know, I began to soften a bit, you know. And I thought, oh, man, here we go. But, you know, I made the commitment, and it is absolutely the best decision I've ever made, even though I swore (laughter) on my mother's [Mattie Williams Pitchford] grave I would never teach. Yet, that is--but my friends say that it is--God's punishing me by making me teach because I used to pick on them so much, you know. They were teachers, and I just laughed at them, (laughter) you know. So--and at Chicago State, you know, when we were going away, when were all graduating from Englewood [Englewood High School, Chicago, Illinois] if they were going to Chicago Teachers College [Chicago State University, Chicago, Illinois], you know, we just thought, ah, anybody can go to Chicago Teachers College, you know. And the fact that I end up being a professor at Chicago Teachers College, they just see it as an absolute justice, you know. And perhaps it is, because I, I just--but I love it. It's been a wonderful--you learn so much from students, you know. And particularly as a, as a professional artist, they approach and do things and create art in ways that, you know, I never thought about, you know. And I'll go like, oh, I'm taking that (laughter), you know.$And I felt very strongly about a lot of stuff socially. It has always pissed me off, racism. You have no idea, even as a little kid. You know, I thought, this is stupid. You know, it just never made sense to me. And I just wasn't going to go quietly. And I thought that a lot of the values that, the moral values that I had as a youngster, I thought they were universal, actually. We weren't taught to do this because this is better for black people. We were taught to do things because it was better for people period, you know, and to have a very broad thought about how the world runs, you know, not just America even, you know. And I will take some social issues and have that as a, as subject matter. For instance, this pot that's over to the right, I did this pot when Katrina [Hurricane Katrina] was going on. And that's just the name of it, because I hadn't been paying attention because I was busy and hadn't been watching TV or listening to much radio. And I get up, I ten--I get up four, five o'clock still a lot now. And I was watching TV, and I couldn't believe it. I mean, I just could not--you know, I'd heard them talking about there's gonna be a flood and stuff. But what I was seeing, I just--'cause I saw water full of debris, and I didn't know what the debris was, and then I saw it, you know. And it just, it just knocked me for a loop. And I just ate my breakfast and went to the studio and built a pot and painted it, you know. That's the way I just kind of purged the, the desire to absolutely kill somebody, I mean, you know, just go--I just wanted to go slap George Bush [President George Walker Bush]. That, that's what, you know--like, just shake him, you know. Now this, this, this, this, you know, man, I know you ain't connected, but (laughter), you know, this is crazy. This won't work, you know. So, that's, that, and I'm okay, and--$$So, so you use your, your interest in, in world events and politics--$$Yes.$$--inform your art.$$Yes, absolutely.

Sharon Farmer

Former Director of White House photography Sharon Camille Farmer was born on June 10, 1951, in Washington, D.C. Farmer attended Ohio State University where she was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and served as vice president of the student government. As a student, Farmer also served as editor for the school newspaper, Our Choking Times, and protested school policies that interfered with black and white student relations.

In 1974, after graduating with her B.S. degree from Ohio State University, Farmer began a career as a freelance photographer. She went on to work for the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington Post and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, shooting news stories, political campaigns, cultural events, conferences, and portraits. Farmer also lectured extensively on photography and served on the faculty for American University, Mount Vernon College, and Indiana University.

In 1993, Farmer was hired as a White House photographer and began traveling the world taking pictures of President Bill Clinton and the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Among the many famous images she captured were the handshake between the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat; and President and Mrs. Clinton witnessing the launch of the space shuttle Discovery with astronaut John Glenn. Then, in 1999, Farmer was promoted to Director of White House Photography and became the first African American and first woman to hold this position. Later, in 2004, she was the campaign photographer for Senator John Kerry’s presidential election campaign.

Farmer has presented many exhibits at museums and cultural institutions nationwide, including: Art against AIDS, Gospel in the Projects, Twenty Years on the Mall, Washington, D.C. - Beijing Exchange, and Our Views of Struggle.

Accession Number

A2008.076

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/29/2008

Last Name

Farmer

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

The Ohio State University

Anacostia High School

Kramer Middle School

Davis Es

Randle Highlands Es

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sharon

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

FAR03

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Yo.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

6/10/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Photographer Sharon Farmer (1951 - ) served as a photographer for President Bill Clinton during his administration, and became the first African American female Director of White House Photography in 1999. In 2004, she was campaign photographer for Senator John Kerry's presidential bid, and has presented many exhibits at museums and cultural institutions nationwide.

Employment

District Photo

Washington Post

Howard University

American University

U.S. Government

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:186620,3486$0,0:1168,37:1533,43:12702,268:20586,445:31912,580:36664,702:38116,729:43528,863:46300,923:56472,1064:104426,1880:113394,2262:136071,2750:148310,2861:148670,2866:153800,2933:157760,3074:173970,3234:179899,3346:186110,3432
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sharon Farmer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sharon Farmer lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sharon Farmer talks about her maternal family history pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sharon Farmer talks about her maternal family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sharon Farmer talks about her uncle who was an amateur photographer

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sharon Farmer talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sharon Farmer talks about her parents' personalities and their careers as educators in Prince George's County, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sharon Farmer talks about her younger brother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sharon Farmer describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sharon Farmer describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sharon Farmer talks about her childhood personality and her childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sharon Farmer talks about growing up in the Benning Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sharon Farmer talks about the elementary and junior high schools she attended in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sharon Farmer talks about her experience at Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sharon Farmer talks about her extracurricular activities as a student at Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sharon Farmer talks about her desire to become a concert bassoonist and her discovery of jazz music in college

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sharon Farmer talks about the campus unrest at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio during the spring of 1970

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sharon Farmer describes the influential black faculty members at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sharon Farmer talks the black student community at Ohio State University and other colleges in Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sharon Farmer talks the black student community at Ohio State University and other colleges in Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sharon Farmer talks about the first time she heard the "N" word

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sharon Farmer talks about Ohio State University's black student newspaper, Our Choking Times

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sharon Farmer talks about being inspired by HistoryMaker Roy Lewis' Wall of Respect

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sharon Farmer talks about giving Archie Griffin and Cornelius Greene rides home from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sharon Farmer talks about developing her interest in photography in college

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sharon Farmer talks about Ohio State University's football team

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sharon Farmer talks about her experience of racial discrimination during her internship with the Associated Press

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sharon Farmer talks about the founding of the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center at Ohio State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sharon Farmer talks about honing her skills as a photographer at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sharon Farmer talks about beginning her photography career in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sharon Farmer talks about working as the manager of Snap Shops, a photography store in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sharon Farmer describes how she began freelancing for The Washington Post

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sharon Farmer talks about being hired to photograph an album cover for Sweet Honey in the Rock

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sharon Farmer describes the impact of working with Sweet Honey in the Rock on her political activism

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sharon Farmer talks about teaching at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sharon Farmer talks about getting the call to work for the Clinton administration

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sharon Farmer explains the origin of her F.B.I. record

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sharon Farmer describes her first days as a photographer in the Clinton White House

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sharon Farmer describes how she became the Director of White House Photography

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sharon Farmer talks about her experience as a photographer in the Clinton White House

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sharon Farmer talks about fighting to get her name on the photos she took at the White House

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sharon Farmer talks about African American women in photography

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sharon Farmer talks about President Clinton's personality

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sharon Farmer talks about Nelson Mandela's inauguration in 1994

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sharon Farmer describes times when people did not believe she was the President's photographer

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sharon Farmer talks about other African Americans in the Clinton administration

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sharon Farmer talks about being the Director of White House Photography

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sharon Farmer talks about photographing President Clinton

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sharon Farmer talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sharon Farmer talks about her role models

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sharon Farmer reflects on what she would do differently

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sharon Farmer reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sharon Farmer talks about Hillary Clinton's work on women's issues and health care

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sharon Farmer talks about the importance of reading and continuing to pursue music as a hobby in adulthood

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sharon Farmer talks about her relationship with her parents as an adult

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sharon Farmer shares advice for young photographers

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sharon Farmer states how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sharon Farmer narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

2$8

DATitle
Sharon Farmer describes the impact of working with Sweet Honey in the Rock on her political activism
Sharon Farmer talks about her experience as a photographer in the Clinton White House
Transcript
Yeah, Ben Chavis [HM Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.] and (unclear) I think.$$Yeah, Sweet Honey [in the Rock] had great songs that just inspired and part of my problem when I first got back from school at Ohio State [University, Columbus, Ohio], I started running around with my old high school buddies again. Some of 'em hadn't changed. I couldn't be drinking wine every weekend and act stupid. My father [George Thomas Farmer] would look at me and go, "what are you doing this weekend, planning already on Wednesday what you're gon' do on Friday." That's when I was still living in the house and I was like, okay I guess I'd better not do that at least not that he can hear. So then you run up against The Sweet Honey and the Rockers [Sweet Honey in the Rock], they're very political, they're very serious, and you're like, this is life. Michelle [Parkerson] is serious, things are on time, the budget's on time, we're going out to Omega Studios once a week to do these big you know recording sessions that last three and four and six hours. Sometimes we don't finish until two or three in the morning so I begin to appreciate how music occurs and they're not writing it down. Now mind you I read music and I can play anything. They're not reading nothing, they're singing and telling each other the parts and it's sticking with them, and then every time they sing, damn if it doesn't sound better and better and better, so I enjoyed that experience and then it was another band called Linda Tillery and her group that came from Oakland [California]. So by then we make an organization to put women's music on the road because women don't get parity. When you talk about rock and roll and singing and being booked and playing clubs and doing all these things and they need a photographer. I'm happy to because photography is just another outlet and everybody you take pictures of ends up being a collaboration, you do it their way, you do it your way next thing you know you got a magical part of a photograph you'd never experience or thought could even occur, but this thing happens, you're like "yes." So you begin to get a reputation for doing a good job and doing it on time and I come bring that back to them because they demanded you be on time, they demanded you do things a certain way that made a better product, so that was good for me and it made me read even more and keep up with people who cared about demonstrations. Randall Robinson by now is hosting marching around the South African Embassy to free Nelson Mandela. So we march for two and a half years rain, or shine, snow, sleet didn't matter. We telling people not to buy the Kugerrand, Sweet Honey in the Rock goes to jail. People start to come down just to go to jail to free Nelson Mandela, and you have Mother's Day marches, Father's Day marches whatever the significant holiday was we're gonna have a march on that day for Nelson Mandela, and Randall was always out there just extolling us to keep on keeping on. So it was just a beautiful thang years later to know that perhaps because we marched so much they finally gotta let boy out, they gotta let him out of jail.$$We kept the pressure up.$$So, yes kept the pressure going so to go from that point to years later meeting this guy 'cause I was at his inaugural. I got to take pictures because of the Clintons [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton] sent me to be the photographer with (simultaneous) (unclear).$Now what are the dynamics of being a White House photographer in terms of the--who really--does the President really call the shots, "here get a picture of this" or what, yeah?$$Sometimes yes, sometimes you need to know that's what they want. It used to just floor me that he would say "make sure we get that picture" and it'd be somebody you were like "oh, who they?" Doesn't matter, to him they were all important. So we turned out a lot of work, if you gotta handshake with the President somebody's gon' get that picture. Two, when--on every Presidential outing one did the close up "grip and grin handshakes" and the other one would be back with the "press group" and you'd take it from another angle with longer lenses.$$What did you call the handshake a--?$$"Grip and grin handshakes" so that made you the body person which means you were close snapping every handshake he did with somebody or if he had a meeting going on or something in the little quiet corner you could use your likas which hardly made any nose at all and you could just edge yourself around. The name of the game was stealth not draw notice to yourself.$$So you didn't want to be obtrusive at all?$$You didn't want to be obtrusive at all, you didn't participate unless you were demanded of and the first two years I was quiet as a mouse, I had nothing to say to nobody about nothing. I remember Mrs. [Hillary Rodham] Clinton saying to somebody one day, "Does Sharon talk, let me ask Sharon if she talks," and she walked right over there and go "so," and I'm looking at her going "yes ma'am" (laughter) but that broke the ice 'cause up until then I had nothing to say to nobody, 'cause I'm still pinching myself everyday going "this is two years later". I live in [Washington] D.C., I use to give this building the finger every time I rode by especially when [Ronald] Reagan and [George H.W.] Bush were in office because what was going on in Nicaragua and Bush's madness with the beginnings of--how you gon' have a riot in Los Angeles and not care? I'm never gonna forget [HM] Maxine Waters going "Mr. President, do you see this" what--he's talking about the weather, his trip flying out from D.C. to California. He ain't said nuthin' about the riot stuff that's occurred there because of Rodney King, he ain't hoping for racial harmony, none of that. We're all watching Nightline. I'll never forget, we were just blown away. So the idea that I was gonna be there working plus I didn't like government. Why would I like government when you tried to put [HM] Angela Davis in jail, you tried to do all kind of stuff that ain't right. I can go back to Roswell [ph.] and all those places and get mad, get mad--knew about the Wilmington Ten, I can get mad about all that stuff. Sweet Honey [in the Rock] sings freedom songs, cause we still ain't free. D.C. can't vote we the last plantation, what are they doing to us? And we pay more taxes than forty states. I don't care what combo you use and we still don't have a say in our budget. So I'm chafing at the bit about all this stuff, doesn't make me feel good so why am I gon' be up in here. You want me in here, must be a new day. Then I started seeing handicapped people rolling around the White House in wheel chairs. Some people blind, some people deaf, America was in the White House so I had hope that this was a different kinda group of people. We might have a better day for real.

Orlando Bagwell

Documentary filmmaker Orlando Bagwell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Donald Bagwell, Sr. and Barbara Jones Bagwell in a family of seven. He attended Blessed Sacrament School in Baltimore. In 1969, his family moved to Nashua, New Hampshire, where he was a member of the Nashua High School football team. After graduating from high school, Bagwell pursued his B.S. degree in film at the Boston University. He completed his undergraduate studies in 1973 and furthered his education by earning his M.A. degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University in 1975.

In the early 1970s, Bagwell worked for the United South End Settlements (USES) and was active in the organization’s after school program. He later became a substitute teacher for the South Boston Public School District where he taught political science and history. Bagwell was contracted by Boston’s WGBH-TV to work as a film producer in 1975. In 1988, he served as a staff producer for the PBS weekly program Frontline. That same year, he produced a documentary on the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.’s presidential campaign entitled Running with Jesse. In 1989, Bagwell founded the Boston based media company, Roja Productions, Inc. and produced Roots of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad. From 1991 until 1994, Bagwell was the executive vice president for the Eyes on the Prize PBS documentary series on the Civil Rights Movement. He produced episodes of the Blackside series entitled Mississippi: Is this America? and Ain’t Scared of Your Jails for which he received the Alfred DuPont Award and the Peabody Award. In 1995, Bagwell served as the executive producer for the not-for-profit WGBH Educational Foundation, and in 1999, he produced the six hour documentary called Africans in America: America’s Journey through Slavery.

Bagwell became the program officer for the Ford Foundation’s Media Arts and Culture unit in 2004. He works with the unit’s director and oversees international operations to accomplish the foundation’s goals.

Orlando Bagwell was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.339

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/17/2007

Last Name

Bagwell

Maker Category
Schools

Nashua High School South

Blessed Sacrament School

Boston University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Orlando

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

BAG01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

You Know.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/2/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Berkeley

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potatoes

Short Description

Documentary filmmaker Orlando Bagwell (1951 - ) made Peabody Award-winning films; served as a staff producer for the PBS weekly program, Frontline; produced a documentary on the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.’s presidential campaign, "Running with Jesse," in 1988; and served as the executive producer for the not-for-profit WGBH Educational Foundation.

Employment

United South End Settlements

WGBH-TV

WNET-TV

WETA-TV

Blackside, Inc.

Ford Foundation

WGBH TV

Harriet Tubman House

Blackside Productions

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:4116,78:5628,107:23168,314:32056,599:36016,689:54379,974:70010,1242:71850,1278:76000,1307:81082,1406:81467,1412:82545,1439:89268,1491:94695,1694:100954,1761:101386,1768:102826,1802:105274,1827:111250,1933:114346,1985:119337,1999:131168,2178:131958,2259:138357,2422:141990,2445$0,0:1020,16:1428,22:1904,30:2176,35:2720,44:3060,50:10422,151:13102,206:13370,211:13772,220:14040,225:15514,264:15983,272:16452,280:18998,344:26522,397:27362,409:28370,443:34112,522:36785,611:39053,653:46690,743:56130,959:57410,989:57730,999:60130,1055:60690,1063:61330,1072:62610,1135:66130,1192:68690,1256:77070,1314:81405,1506:90024,1627:93673,1704:94296,1716:95008,1724:98301,1798:98924,1807:100793,1840:111699,1996:112469,2001:118002,2116:119178,2135:119514,2140:120606,2194:120942,2199:121278,2204:122202,2220:125394,2261:134259,2357:135930,2370:142380,2468:150120,2610
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Orlando Bagwell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell remembers St. Clair Bourne

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Orlando Bagwell lists his favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell describes his mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Orlando Bagwell describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Orlando Bagwell describes his maternal great-grandmother and great-aunts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his extended family members

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Orlando Bagwell describes his community in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Orlando Bagwell talks about his parents' return to college, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Orlando Bagwell talks about his parents' return to college, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Orlando Bagwell describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Orlando Bagwell describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his daily activities in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell describes the Blessed Sacrament School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Orlando Bagwell recalls his teachers at the Blessed Sacrament School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Orlando Bagwell remembers the holidays with his family

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Orlando Bagwell describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Orlando Bagwell describes the Civil Rights Movement in Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Orlando Bagwell describes the Wilson Park neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Orlando Bagwell talks about the political climate of his neighborhood

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Orlando Bagwell reflects upon attitudes in the black community during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell recalls the television and radio shows of his youth

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Orlando Bagwell describes his involvement in neighborhood sports leagues

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Orlando Bagwell recalls moving to Nashua, New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Orlando Bagwell remembers Nashua High School in Nashua, New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Orlando Bagwell describes his decision to attend Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his high school guidance counselor

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Orlando Bagwell describes his religious involvement in Nashua, New Hampshire

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Orlando Bagwell remembers Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Orlando Bagwell describes his decision to pursue a career in film

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Orlando Bagwell talks about civil rights leaders

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Orlando Bagwell remembers the film program at Boston University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Orlando Bagwell describes his role at the United South End Settlements in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Orlando Bagwell recalls teaching film at the United South End Settlements

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Orlando Bagwell describes his coursework at Boston University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Orlando Bagwell recalls working with PBS and WGBH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Orlando Bagwell describes his independent films

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Orlando Bagwell remembers pledging Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Orlando Bagwell remembers his aspiration to become a filmmaker

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Orlando Bagwell reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Orlando Bagwell reflects upon his work at the Ford Foundation

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

10$3

DATitle
Orlando Bagwell describes his decision to pursue a career in film
Orlando Bagwell describes his role at the United South End Settlements in Boston, Massachusetts
Transcript
I took my second semester, sophomore year, and I took off. And I think it was also that I was feeling that school wasn't--I couldn't make it connect with what I, I couldn't make it make sense or have a relevancy to me. And that was a tough year because I was, you know, kind of floating. I had an idea I was gonna work, you know, travel, and my sister and I were living together, and I was working and I lost my job. And, you know, it's just wasn't--trying to live in an apartment too and living in Boston [Massachusetts]. And my parents [Barbara Jones Bagwell and Donald Bagwell, Sr.], when I left school, they decided they weren't gonna pay anymore for me. So if I wanted to get back to school, I had to do it on my own. And, and it was the summer of the semester, and then the summer. And that summer, I had hooked up with this place [United South End Settlements, Boston, Massachusetts] and had, through a girlfriend, and said that I was gonna work at this camp for the summer. And it was with this Harriet Tubman House [Boston, Massachusetts] that was a community center in the South End of Boston. And that was a breakthrough for me because suddenly I was, I was with young people and what I believed in and everything. So I could make work and make sense, you know, on a work level. And so I started working there, and I decided I was gonna get myself back in school, and I had been--I had bought a still camera and had been taking pictures and doing some slide shows and things like that. And one of my, and my roommate in freshman year was in the school of communications [Boston University College of Communication, Boston, Massachusetts] and was in film school. And, not in the film school, the school of communications, and he said to me--and I had always worked with films in high school, teaching, using them for teaching things, for teaching with my CYO work, Catholic Youth Organization work, and had brought, done a presentation in my sociology class with films about conditions in schools in urban areas. And my friend said, you really under--you really seem to know something about movies, and when you talk about them, and I really didn't know that and feel that way because I didn't really go to movies and stuff, you know. But he got my attention, and I decided I'd try and get back in school in the film school, which was a very small program in the communications school. I think they had like ten students, and I got in.$How soon do you start working with children after school in film?$$Well, that happened immediately actually 'cause it was a funny thing. I came out of that summer as a counselor, and the center asked me to come back and work with their after-school program. And I started working there, and no sooner had I gotten there, that the woman who was running it quit. And they offered me a full-time job running the program, which meant that I would work most of my hours in the evening. But I would, the days when I didn't have classes at school [Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts], I would spend my after- my days there, you know, working through the planning and the preparation and the, you know, just all the things to kind of set up the program. And it was really working in a center that really didn't have a lot of programs coming out of it. But what had happened is, once they gave me the job to run the after-school program, it didn't have a lot of kids coming to it either. But when they asked me to do it, I noticed that there is a lot of new housing projects that were built by the church in the neighborhood--there was a church on the corner, and they built a lot of low-income housing on Columbus Avenue. And I started recruiting from those homes. And then I, I petitioned for a little bit of money from the settlement house organization [United South End Settlements, Boston, Massachusetts] that ran this particular house [Harriet Tubman House, Boston, Massachusetts], and we renovated the house. And, you know, sanded and cleaned all the floors repainted the whole place and fixed it up so that somebody would want to come and be there and upgraded our offices and we started recruiting kids in and started bringing in a whole group of new kids. And suddenly the place was full of kids and teenagers. And we started a teen program too, and we then built a stage down on the corner and, you know, and started working and built, transformed a lot of the lots that were empty there into playgrounds and stuff like that, and started turning it into a new place. And then I started, I worked through the schools to get, to work with all the different schools in the area to kind of work with them to get our statuses up as an employer of work-study students, so I could recruit students in work-study programs. And I started building a cadre of teachers who were doing after school classrooms, teaching in math and reading and then other kinds of arts and other kinds of things. And then I taught a, I built a dark room on the top floor and taught photography and started doing a video class there.

Ras Ammar Nsoroma

An artist known for his murals, Ras Ammar Nsoroma was born Kevin Wayne Tate on June 20, 1967 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When he was only a teenager, Nsoroma became aware of the work of Reynaldo Hernandez, an inner-city mural artist, which inspired him. Nsoroma graduated from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts in 1985 and attended the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Nsoroma completing his first mural as a senior in high school.

In the late 1980s, Nsoroma moved to Chicago and studied at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He returned to Wisconsin and began working as an artist, designing three-dimensional murals on the Fond du Lac Avenue overpass for the north and south wing walls and bridge abutments. In 2000, two of Nsoroma’s murals were nominated for inclusion in the book, Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals, a collection of 200 murals spanning three decades of African American mural art. In 2004, Nsoroma designed a mural to celebrate the radio station 1290 WMCS-AM’s 25th anniversary of African American community programming; entitled The Tradition Continues. Nsoroma utilized photographs and created a compilation of twenty-five portraits of men and women who participated in the growth of the station.

Nsoroma has painted more than forty murals, including pieces in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as his hometown of Milwaukee.

Accession Number

A2007.334

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/29/2007 |and| 12/1/2007

Last Name

Nsoroma

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ammar

Occupation
Schools

Milwaukee High School of the Arts

Hawley Road Elementary

Bay View High

31st Street School

Phillis Wheatley Elementary School

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ras

Birth City, State, Country

Milwaukee

HM ID

NSO01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Wisconsin

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Know Thyself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

6/20/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Black Bean Soup

Short Description

Muralist Ras Ammar Nsoroma (1967 - ) painted more than forty murals, including pieces in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Milwaukee. Two of Nsoroma’s murals were nominated for inclusion in the book, Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals.

Employment

School

Pick 'n Save Warehouse Foods

Self Employed

Favorite Color

Indigo

Timing Pairs
0,0:560,4:1120,19:3702,33:4850,44:5178,49:5670,56:22450,291:40084,560:42480,581:42724,586:45560,620:46385,632:48930,651:56030,748:56836,766:57394,782:60866,858:61114,863:66512,993:72012,1038:74607,1049:76169,1079:80855,1185:81636,1201:81991,1207:82275,1212:82843,1228:83411,1241:86890,1337:88310,1357:89091,1369:91718,1443:92002,1448:92286,1453:99663,1512:99955,1517:100539,1531:104262,1600:111732,1685:119547,1777:119831,1782:121038,1806:121393,1812:121819,1821:125918,1877:126242,1882:126971,1893:142780,2046$0,0:4682,51:13270,144:17342,167:17998,177:21524,268:24558,360:33140,518:34375,543:35990,578:36370,583:41975,740:47446,770:48274,780:52261,866:54378,880:54816,888:55911,922:63520,1018:72721,1129:73106,1135:73568,1142:77526,1171:77986,1178:87245,1303:87625,1308:92800,1370:106283,1572:107720,1577:111370,1649:111735,1655:112319,1665:114363,1716:118305,1799:119619,1842:126420,1954:133329,2030:137240,2064:137676,2069:138548,2090:148576,2256:160660,2407
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ras Ammar Nsoroma's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his aunt's practice of Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers his conversion to Islam

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his father's reasons for leaving Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his parents' marriage and separation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers the 20th Street School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma recalls moving frequently in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers his early drawings

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma recalls his art classes at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers drawing the King Fearless Comics series

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes the Hawley Road School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers the blaxploitation films of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers his mentors and influences

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his artwork during high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers his first public murals

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes Bay View High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes the creation of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma recalls his disciplinary problems in elementary school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his art training during high school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma recalls his scholarship to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his art education and internship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers his political influences

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes the Pan-African Revolutionary Socialist Party

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers travelling with Emerson Matabele

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his decision to pursue a career in art

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his work with the Chicago Public Art Group

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Ras Ammar Nsoroma's interview, session 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers painting 'The Circle Journey'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his mural, 'Patchwork'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma reflects upon his artistic influences

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma recalls studying the Yoruba religion

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his artistic philosophy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his work with the Wisconsin Black Historical Society

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his work with the Walker's Point Center for the Arts

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma reflects upon his depictions of religious figures

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his murals for the Ausar Auset Society

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma talks about the cost and time frames of his murals

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma talks about the murals in Milwaukee's America's Black Holocaust Museum

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes the Marquette Interchange mural, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma talks about the Marquette Interchange mural, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma talks about his mural, 'The Resurrection of Watts'

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma remembers his exhibition, 'JuJu'

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma talks about his organization involvement

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma reflects upon his life

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma talks about his wife and children

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Ras Ammar Nsoroma narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes the creation of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts
Ras Ammar Nsoroma describes his decision to pursue a career in art
Transcript
But what they did, they had this program in high school where you would go to school half a day and then the other half you could go to the art museum [Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin] and it was called satellite program and you go to the art museum the other half and do courses there. So I got--I became part of that and then you had to have good attendance and you know good grades and stuff so that got me back in, in the swing of it and stuff and so but Bay View [Bay View High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin] was the artist specialty school and then my last year in high school I guess they wanted a more centralized location and this, this was like right after that movie 'Fame,' I think and I think it might influence a lot. They, they put a lot of money, they had investors and they put a lot of money into the schools it was West Division High School [Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Milwaukee, Wisconsin] and it was, it was more--it was more in the neighborhood where I grew up and they made that the art specialty school and before it was a law specialty school and they switched specialties with Bay View, so Bay View became the law specialty school, like law enforcement and stuff like that and [U.S.] military and ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps] and stuff like that.$$Okay so they turned West Division which is was that a traditional black high school?$$Yeah it was traditional.$$And they turned it into the arts high school for the whole city?$$Yep and then they named it the High School of the Arts. So, so they came, my junior year they came over and did like a program and they recruited a lot of us from Bay View to try to come over to the High School of the Arts. So that's what I did, I went over there. I say that was my last year of high school and that was the first year the High School of the Arts.$$Now did you get any honors in high school for your art or? How, how, how was your art viewed in high school, how did they?$$The teachers took like interest in me, the art teachers they liked my work.$From there I just decided to concentrate on my art career and I was growing locs [dreadlocks] at the time. And I thought you know my locs would help me, help me in my drive and determination to continue this career because you know I didn't think anybody would try to hire me with locs. Locs weren't very popular then like the early '90s [1990s]. Maybe in New York [New York] or something but like as far as--$$So, it would kind of keep you in the arts because nobody would take you otherwise.$$(Laughter) And I found that out when I moved to Chicago [Illinois]. I tried to get jobs like through the school and stuff and everything would be fine over the phone when I would call and stuff and they say come on down and stuff and once I got down there, you know it was a different story. They saw my hair and stuff and you know I had, I had a lot of money saved. You know I didn't have to find a job right away 'cause I, I actually I was saving money. It was gonna be my back to Africa fund or something you know but I decided to go to school I used that money to you know to get me a place and live for a while 'til I you know I start making money so, but eventually you know I never got a job you know working at a Gap [Gap, Inc.] or, or vitamin store or wherever I tried you know. So I just, I had to keep working and doing art you know. That's how I made my money, I just kept doing art. So eventually I just--I just stopped. I was paying out of pocket at the School of the Art Institute [School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois] so you know I had to take time off to catch up paying and stuff and never went back.$$So you were never offered a scholarship or anything? Or did you try--$$I had a scholarship, it was a partial scholarship and then the rest I, I was paying out of pocket. I was paying the difference out of pocket because I didn't wanna take out any loans and stuff. I'm real cheap that way you know. I like you know I like to take care of myself. I don't like to be in debt and stuff so so the remainder I was paying like maybe four thousand [dollars] a semester out of pocket or so you know.$$That's a lot of money.$$Yeah. So then I still I think I might still owe, I'm not gonna say it on tape. But you know so I took time off and then I never went back and then I just kept doing my art you know as paying--I was doing my art anyway to pay for it, I just kept working.

Linda Marie Allen

Interior designer Linda Marie Allen was born on May 3, 1961 in Los Angeles, California. Her formative years were a combination of competitive figure skating and private academic tutelage. Allen placed in all state and national competitions that she entered. In her late teens, she became one of the few blacks ever to be a feature in the Ice Capades touring troupe. After touring for awhile, Allen attended California State University in Long Beach, earning her B.S. degree in interior and environmental design. Allen’s passion for design originated in her early experiences as a professional ice skater, learning about the importance of color from the spotlights that would flash during the Ice Capades.

Allen’s career began while working for lighting design firms that focused on hotels and in Las Vegas, but soon decided that lighting was only one piece of the puzzle. She began designing offices for such clients as American Golf, and in 1996, worked as a consultant for Earvin “Magic” Johnson when he was customizing Magic Johnson Enterprises’ Beverly Hills offices. With Johnson’s encouragement, Allen ultimately began her own interior design company. Soon, Allen was selected by Walt Disney Imagineering to work in their set design department as lead designer, focusing on custom light fixtures in Disney’s theme parks, a job that would lead to further work for Disney, including the Tokyo Disney Seas theme park in Japan, and Disneyland’s California Adventure. Allen was soon designing for both office and residential clients, including a variety of high-profile entertainers. With her design experience, Allen was hired to make television appearances, including a stint on HGTV’s Designing for the Sexes and You’re Home, plus Area, the Style Network’s design program.

In 2004, Allen’s housing design tips appeared in the pages of Essence magazine, a feat she would repeat the following year. Her work has appeared in a variety of additional publications, including The Chicago Tribune, Interiors Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times, Luxe Interiors Design, Better Homes & Gardens, Interiors, the Robb Report, California Homes and Designs, and Traditional Home Magazine. In 2015, Allen was named one of the top 20 African American Designers in the United States. She also invented the Live. Anywhere. Collection, a collection of wireless table and floor lamps, for which she owns a patent.

Allen was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.322

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/5/2007

Last Name

Allen

Maker Category
Middle Name

Marie

Occupation
Schools

Transfiguration School

Sixth Avenue Elementary School

Culver City Middle School

University High School

Crenshaw Senior High School

Santa Monica College

California State University, Long Beach

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

ALL05

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

Sponsor

Carol H. Williams Advertising

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

Got It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

5/3/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Indian Food

Short Description

Interior designer Linda Marie Allen (1961 - ) was an interior and lighting designer. She invented and patented a line of luxury outdoor wireless table and floor lamps, her signature Live. Anywhere. Collection. She also designed offices and lighting for Magic Johnson and Disney's Japanese theme park, respectively.

Employment

Ice Capades

Knotts Berry Farm

Lite Source, Inc.

ISD

Murray Alcorn

Interprise

Linda Allen Designs, Inc.

Live. Anywhere, Inc.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Peacock Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:747,14:1577,25:2573,48:13046,278:18072,319:18480,324:18990,331:26000,382:26900,392:28000,407:31300,438:32100,449:32600,455:34500,499:41100,587:43000,608:43600,623:44900,642:47900,683:56120,713:56420,718:59570,768:66170,956:68645,1008:79445,1218:119798,1646:120218,1652:120722,1659:121058,1664:135105,1805:135477,1810:144498,1948:148683,2018:166930,2335$0,0:3534,92:4185,100:5115,114:7254,162:7905,170:9765,184:13392,231:13950,238:14415,244:15438,257:34178,497:34906,505:35738,510:46996,644:51646,705:52111,711:61039,818:78644,1025:80392,1058:81036,1066:83612,1111:84072,1117:85452,1136:87016,1154:91892,1244:93548,1269:96492,1428:109537,1555:109972,1561:122672,1856:125426,1926:128909,1985:129233,1990:137819,2169:151395,2342:151920,2348:165272,2566:165616,2571:166648,2585:171120,2659:171894,2669:174990,2707:176194,2722:176538,2727:183090,2784:183426,2789:183762,2794:188214,2887:192078,2945:192666,2954:200280,3013
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Linda Marie Allen's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Linda Marie Allen lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Linda Marie Allen describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Linda Marie Allen describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Linda Marie Allen describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Linda Marie Allen describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Linda Marie Allen describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Linda Marie Allen describes her introduction to ice skating

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her aunts and uncles

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her early ice skating career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Linda Marie Allen describes her ice skating training schedule

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her fellow black figure skaters

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Linda Marie Allen describes the expenses related to figure skating

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Linda Marie Allen describes her experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her first ice skating competition

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Linda Marie Allen describes her high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Linda Marie Allen describes her social life

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Linda Marie Allen talks about her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Linda Marie Allen recalls her aspiration to become a professional ice skater

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Linda Marie Allen describes her competitive figure skating career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Linda Marie Allen remembers the end of her Olympic aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Linda Marie Allen describes her career with the Ice Capades

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Linda Marie Allen recalls racial discrimination in the Ice Capades company

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Linda Marie Allen remembers touring with the Ice Capades

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Linda Marie Allen describes her college experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Linda Marie Allen remembers California State University, Long Beach

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Linda Marie Allen describes her assistantship at Lite Source, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Linda Marie Allen describes her work with interior design firms

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Linda Marie Allen remembers designing for Magic Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Linda Marie Allen talks about Linda Allen Designs, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Linda Marie Allen recalls designing for Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Linda Marie Allen talks about her ex-husband

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Linda Marie Allen describes her work on the Pasadena Showcase House of Design

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Linda Marie Allen describes achievements as an interior designer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Linda Marie Allen describes her friendship with Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Linda Marie Allen reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Linda Marie Allen describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Linda Marie Allen reflects upon her values

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Linda Marie Allen reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Linda Marie Allen narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Linda Marie Allen remembers her early ice skating career
Linda Marie Allen remembers designing for Magic Johnson
Transcript
So, you're in elementary school, you know these different influences going on, you're learning the art of etiquette because from what we hear your grandparents, your aunts, they're very much into that, all the ladies are, and you're getting into ice skating. Tell us about your first experiences with that.$$I remember that once I started skating, I really liked that sport. It was something that I can get involved in emotionally. Being that I was still young and that I was shy and that I had not reached out yet, personality-wise, I could reach out in a physical way that I found out that, you know, with music, I loved music and the fact that I just loved the art and thrill and challenge of ice skating.$$So your first time meeting Mabel?$$Mabel Fairbanks.$$Your first time, you're going to Culver City [Culver City Ice Arena, Culver City, California], you're in the skates, you're learning the sport in its rawest form. Did you take to it instantly? Were you deemed a natural?$$I was not a natural, my sister [Lisa Allen] was a natural.$$Talk to us about that a little bit.$$My sister was quite talented in almost anything she did. You know, she was just very witty and she picked up things, and she still does, very much. She's very intuitive. And she would just be very--she was--she was very coordinated. So--a little more coordinated than I. I kind of had a growth spurt there and she just was proportioned growing up, so when you're doing the jumps and, and you're getting into that type of sport, it was much more of a natural inclination for her. But, I had the passion for it, and that passion sustained me and she had passions for other things that most kids her age do and she ended up getting out of skating and I continued.$$So, you're skating and for the viewer, this is not just a--at this point, it's not just a pastime. It's becoming, quite a bit of your time is spent in this particular sport. Is it fair to say that?$$It is very fair to say that the time became very intense as a child even. I remember at Transfiguration [Transfiguration Elementary School, Los Angeles, California], by the time I had gotten into ninth grade my parents [Eleanor Allen and Edgar Allen] had switched me out of Catholic school and had placed me into schools that would allow me to transfer PE [physical education] for ice skating.$So, in 1996 you're working for--who are you working for in '96 [1996]?$$So, then in 1996, I started working for a company called Interprise. By that time I was a project manager and I actually project managed it--I project managed office space planning and design.$$And it's at that point in '96 [1996], if my research serves correctly, you ran into Earvin Magic Johnson?$$That was great.$$Tell us about that.$$Uh, it's serendipitous because back in--actually in '95 [1995] I was working for this company that decided to close its L.A. [Los Angeles, California] arm. It was--I think it was from Texas, this company, Interprise is a Texas-based company, well-known. And I was project managing a office for Magic Johnson and the company went to fold and they were gonna--since the project was kind of small for Earvin's office, they were gonna let go of it, and I fought to keep the project. And so I actually talked to Earvin Johnson--Magic Johnson--and let me back up for a minute.$$Okay.$$I actually got the project for the company. Okay, because I was the project manager and I would actually go in and I was being marketed to Earvin Magic Johnson and when he talked to me the same as he talked to you, we were about the same age and we just started having like this great camaraderie and so he hired me. I just happened to work for the company. So when the company closed, I went back to him and they hired me back as my own company [Linda Allen Designs, Inc.].$$So, so did he tell you basically, maybe you should just start your own company and don't worry about it? What did he tell you?$$He said, "Yeah, get your insurances (laughter)."$$(Laughter).$$His business manager said, "Get your insurances and we will support you."$$So now you have--you have your--out of the clear blue sky now, you have (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I have a celebrity project.$$You have your own, first--well, not--we won't say it's your first project. But it, it basically is now on your own and your first project is working for one of the greatest names in sports.$$Yes.$$Who's, who's now converted to a businessman.$$Yes.$$So what exactly did you--did you do for him?$$Well, I helped give him an image for his new businesses. He was developing Magic Johnson's Development [Magic Johnson Development Corporation] at the time and under the umbrella of Magic Johnson Enterprises [Magic Johnson Enterprises, Inc.], which is still going on right now. And I had an opportunity to work with, with him and Ken Lombard [Kenneth T. Lombard] and I had another opportunity to work with some wonderful art consultants, Allie Toscavetti [ph.] is a good friend of mine. And I had a wonderful opportunity to work on a full-service design project that when I was at Interprise was only tenant improvement. So when they hired me, they hired me full-service.$$So basically you did his whole offices and his things over?$$Yeah, I mean basically I got to develop a high-end project, which otherwise was thought of as a low-end budget project.

Herbert Randall

Photographer Herbert Eugene Randall, Jr. was born on December 16, 1936, in Bronx, New York, to factory worker Herbert Randall, Sr., and homemaker Jane Hunter. In 1951, Randall began studying with renowned photographer Harold Feinstein, an artist known for his black-and-white documentary photography. The following year, Randall worked as a freelance photographer for a variety of media organizations, including "Black Star," United Press International and the Associated Press. In 1963, Randall founded an African American photographer’s workshop, called the Kamoinge Workshop, in New York City, New York, alongside established photographers Lou Draper, Ray Francis, James Mannas, Herman Howard and Albert Fenner.

In 1964, Randall received a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and was encouraged by Sanford R. Leigh, the Director of Mississippi Freedom Summer's Hattiesburg project, to photograph the effects of the Civil Rights Movement in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Randall photographed volunteers in a variety of projects, including the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party campaign and voter registration drives. One of Randall’s most famous photographs was published that summer, the photo of the bloody and concussed Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, head of a prominent Cleveland Congregation and former World War II objector. Randall returned to New York in 1965, and served as supervisor of photography for Bedford Stuyvesant Youth In Action, Inc. In 1968, Randall joined the Brooklyn Children’s Museum as a photography instructor, and in his spare time became South Bronx Youth Village’s photographic consultant. Between 1970 and 1974, Randall was the New York City Board of Education Multi-Media Project Coordinator of Photography. During this period, Randall was awarded the Creative Artists Public Service (CAPS) Grant for photography.

In 1974, the National Media Center Foundation hired Randall as a photographic consultant, where he would remain until 1981, when he moved to the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, New York, and began working as a custodian and school bus driver. In 1999, Randall donated the his photography archives – nearly 2,000 negatives – to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The school organized a traveling exhibition consisting of one-hundred of the photographs ending in 2003. University of Southern Mississippi Archivist Bobs M. Tusa joined Randall in 2001, to write "Faces of Freedom Summer," which tells the story of Randall’s photographs from Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Randall’s work was exhibited as a part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Week celebration at Stanford University. Randall’s work has been exhibited at galleries across the country, including the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Baltimore’s Cultural Arts Gallery.

Herbert Eugene Randall, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.276

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/28/2007

Last Name

Randall

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

P.S. 23 The New Children's School

New York City College of Technology

J.H.S. 51

Food Trades Vocational High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

RAN07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/16/1936

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Southampton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Photographer Herbert Randall (1936 - ) photographed the Mississippi Freedom Summer’s Hattiesburg Project in 1964 and donated his archive of negatives to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

Employment

Associated Press (AP)

Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth in Action

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

New York (N.Y.).--Dept. of Education

National Media Center Foundation

Indians of North America -- New York (State) -- Long Island.

South Bronx Youth Village

Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:1440,107:2000,116:3840,141:14880,303:17760,428:19120,448:19680,467:21440,511:21920,518:22240,523:37560,642:39760,670:40552,680:42048,703:42840,713:55404,893:57704,919:71930,1014:82878,1192:104086,1447:104932,1459:105402,1465:112239,1520:112887,1529:113454,1539:114183,1550:121906,1619:122714,1629:127259,1683:128067,1693:133990,1762:141684,1837:142176,1844:144718,1898:145210,1905:145702,1912:154210,2051$0,0:18444,301:44305,694:44730,700:54920,827:69240,1047:86966,1173:87950,1186:90492,1223:92970,1252:93770,1264:100814,1384:105794,1440:109274,1476:112768,1501:113314,1512:113626,1518:114640,1542:115186,1557:115810,1567:116356,1576:117214,1590:117760,1610:118072,1623:118384,1670:120412,1693:120724,1698:121192,1705:122050,1727:130108,1827:130452,1832:152174,2110:152430,2115:152686,2120:156047,2155:159054,2203:168330,2290:169370,2331:172570,2384:192872,2701:198218,2822:200729,2861:217224,3053:232848,3206:237193,3296:243162,3372:245042,3409:257210,3558
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert Randall's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert Randall describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herbert Randall remembers his neighborhood in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert Randall remembers the arrival of heroin in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall reflects upon his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall remembers his early church experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall remembers his early exposure to film and music

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall describes his schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall remembers his early interest in photography

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall recalls his training under Harold Feinstein

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert Randall remembers his U.S. Army service in Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herbert Randall talks about the Kamoinge Workshop

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herbert Randall describes New York City's Harlem neighborhood, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert Randall describes New York City's Harlem neighborhood, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall talks about his photography

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall recalls his decision to photograph the Mississippi Freedom Summer

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall remembers meeting with Julian Bond in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall remembers the SNCC training session in Oxford, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall recalls an encounter with a police officer in rural Kentucky

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall remembers his arrival in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herbert Randall reflects upon his involvement in the Mississippi Freedom Summer, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Herbert Randall recalls the subjects of his photographs in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Herbert Randall recalls a conversation with Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbert Randall remembers photographing Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall remembers his host family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall remembers communicating with his family during the Freedom Summer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall reflects upon his experiences in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall recalls donating his film negatives to the University of Southern Mississippi

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall recalls his work with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Youth in Action

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall remembers his wedding in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbert Randall talks about his son's career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbert Randall talks about his experiences as an educator

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herbert Randall describes the Shinnecock reservation in Southampton, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herbert Randall talks about exhibiting his photography

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herbert Randall reflects upon his involvement in the Mississippi Freedom Summer, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herbert Randall remembers the leaders of the Mississippi Freedom Summer

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herbert Randall describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Herbert Randall remembers his early interest in photography
Herbert Randall recalls his decision to photograph the Mississippi Freedom Summer
Transcript
When you were in high school [Food and Maritime Trades Vocational High School, New York, New York] did you have any particular aspiration or idea about what you were gonna do?$$Well, the thing is that you're always taught, al- always taught, you know, you get a, you get a good job, you know, you get a good job, and that's never defined what the job is and what does, what does good mean? But, you get a job and whatever. So aspirations, no you just, you know you have to finish school, you know you have to finish high school, and maybe you'd get a good job or something, no.$$So how did you start taking photographs?$$Well that happened when I went to, I went to a community college, New York City Community College [New York City College of Technology]. And, it was in Brooklyn [New York]. And the, the col- the college had nothing to do with, (laughter) with the photographs but, the outside interest, I had a friend at the time, Alvin Simon, who was interested in photography and he--. Well actually in nineteen fifty- what was it '55 [1955], or 1956? I saw a, either my father [Herbert Randall, Sr.] or my sister brought home a book, well they would always bring home books, but this sp- specific one was, was Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava, Langston Hughes of course is Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava is a fa- fantastic photographer. And it was called 'The Sweet Flypaper of Life' [Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes], okay? And this is the first time that I had seen black folks in any kind of visual material that were treated as people, you know? And I was just very impressed by it and, and then about the same period of time, there was a major exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City [New York, New York], it was titled 'The Family of Man' and Alvin took me to, or we went to see the exhibit. I was really impressed by the, some of the photographs there. So, that's pretty much how I started and Alvin, you know, gave me whatever help he could in terms of how to do, you know, how to do these things technically.$You're freelancing in Harlem [New York, New York], and event- eventually in 1964 you go to Mississippi.$$Yeah.$$Can you tell us a little bit about--$$I could tell you (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) the progression?$$I could tell you a lot about (laughter)--$$Please.$$But, in 1964, I think it was April, April of 1964, the last of April, 1964, I'd gotten worried that I had received the John Hay Whitney fellowship [John Hay Whitney Foundation] for photography, it was basically, do a year's photographic project, program. And so, in the proposal that I'd written to the foundation I had said that I had needed to do some photographing in the South, I'd never been south before, why had I never been south? Because I never wanted to go south before 'cause I, you know, I didn't remember if I could remember to sit on the back of the bus or the side of the bus or whoever the bus. I just never had been south before. So, I had a fr- I, I had, I have a friend, as a matter of fact I just saw her not to long ago, Julie Pr- Prettyman, at the time, Julie Poussaint [Julia Poussaint] now. Well, sh- she was running the SNCC office, SNCC of course is Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee office in Manhattan in New York [New York]. So she was running the office, I knew Julie and so Julie had said, "Herb [HistoryMaker Herbert Randall], you know, since you have to go and do some work in the South, we have a summer project that's coming up in June," 'cause this was like April, May, and she says, "You know, maybe you, you could go down there and help the, help the projects, and also, you know, get some in, the work that you want to do." And so I said, "Oh that sounds, you know, that sounds interesting. Where? Where is your project?" And she said, "Mississippi." And I said--I forget a lot 'cause that was a long time ago, I re- don't remember exactly, but I can remember exactly what I said to her: "There is no way in hell I'm going to no Mississippi, you know. No." But anyhow she said, "Well, think about it." So I thought about, and I didn't think I was gonna go. So anyhow she has said that there was a meeting to be held for volunteers you know and why don't I just go and check it out. So I went to the meeting, it was at the church center in Manhattan, and Sandy Leigh [Sanford R. Leigh] who was a project director of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, he was there and he was trying to get people to go down to Mississippi. And so he finished his talk, and I don't know why he came up to me, or maybe the reason why he came up to me 'cause I was one of the few blacks in the audience, maybe, I don't know. Anyhow, so he said, "Oh," you know, "how, are you planning to go to Mississippi?" And I said, "Well I don't really think so." So he said, "Well, you know, you know, you should, maybe you should go," and blah-blah. Anyhow, he found out that I was a photographer and he said, "Oh, no, no, no. You gotta, you have to come to Mississippi, and you have to document my program." So Sandy was up in New York for maybe two weeks, we hit every bar in Harlem as I remember (laughter) and there's a lot of bars in Harlem. And he--it was important for me to know who I was gonna work for if I was gonna go and do something like that, you know 'cause you're in a crappy situation (laughter) and, you know, and if you can kind of coexist with the people you're working with it's even better, or your so-called boss or whoever. So, Sandy and I got along fine and he--so I said, "Well, okay," you know, "that--," then I decided to go.

Nathan Jones

Artist and inventor Nathan Jones was born on June 27, 1942, in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Bertha Lee Jones and Eunice Jones. When Jones was young, his family moved to West Dallas, Texas, where he lived with his cousin, Helen. With the encouragement of his mother, he began painting at the age of seven. Jones attended George Washington Carver grade school, then CF Carr, and Fanny C. Harris schools. Jones went to James Madison High School, where he met his future wife. After his high school graduation, Jones attended Texas Southern University, where he first became aware of another black artist, Dr. John Biggers.

After attending Texas Southern University, Jones moved to Columbus College of Art and Design, where he learned about art history and theory. He entered the University of Texas at Arlington, where he studied two years of architecture, earning a two-year certification in architecture; he also earned his B.F.A. degree while attending the University of Texas at Arlington. Jones also attended El Centro College,the University of Dallas for special training in lithography, Eastfield College in order to study printing and also Richland College. He spent a total of ten years in school studying. In 1975, Jones’s first museum show was held at the Midland Museum of Fine Arts; he was an instant success, selling around twenty-five paintings for $30,000. Jones continued to have shows in Houston throughout the 1970s and became financially successful.

In 1981, Jones designed a commemorative U.S. postage stamp for Dr. Charles Drew; that same year, Jones became the creator of the cover for the 1981-82 Southwestern Bell Telephone Directory. Jones had been interested in inventions since childhood, and as an adult began to strive towards patenting some of his own. Jones invented a simple device called the Multi Caddy, which cleans most golf equipment; he then founded MultiGolf Systems International of Texas, LP, a company devoted to selling his invention. Subsequently Jones has patented a total of five inventions which have gone into production for commercial retail. In 1992, Jones founded N.J.K. Properties, Inc., beginning his own architectural business and designing a number of buildings in Texas, which include the Fitzhugh Apartment Complex. Jones has also developed an authentic historical art series, the Buffalo Soldier Series, based on nine years of research into the history of African American soldiers.

Accession Number

A2007.237

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/14/2007

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

James Madison High School

George Washington Carver Grade School

CF Carr School

Fannie C. Harris School

University of Texas at Arlington

Columbus College of Art and Design

Texas Southern University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Nathan

Birth City, State, Country

Shreveport

HM ID

JON17

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

6/27/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Painter, architect, and inventor Nathan Jones (1942 - ) had a lucrative art career nationally and internationally. Jones held seven patents, including one for the Multicaddie, a device that cleans most golf equipment. Jones was also a successful architect; he was the founder of N.J.K. Properties, Inc., an architectural firm that designed a number of buildings in Texas.

Employment

MultiGolf Systems International

N.J.K. Properties, Inc.

Favorite Color

Burgundy

Timing Pairs
0,0:7856,197:9650,348:17840,596:43406,908:46091,930:51237,1067:52067,1109:84910,1520:85354,1527:89868,1615:93715,1629:95080,1665:95340,1670:98462,1709:99266,1716:100338,1725:101072,1736:104102,1774:107946,1799:108298,1804:118548,1996:125745,2048:126255,2055:128125,2084:130250,2232:149922,2433:169806,2684:170422,2694:192550,2968:196528,3017:202970,3108:206640,3141:220124,3310:227006,3439:247856,3738:253610,3793:263770,3941:284554,4222:287592,4275:288180,4282:288964,4291:293864,4349:294452,4356:321160,4765$0,0:18519,309:19266,358:20843,537:59294,990:61469,1028:62600,1050:66406,1073:72938,1139:80076,1258:81321,1284:82870,1289:83146,1294:94319,1490:96145,1537:103263,1586:103895,1597:106581,1673:128660,2006:129444,2016:135380,2068:138605,2142:148954,2293:155910,2391:171030,2728:189275,2883:207975,3143:220828,3317:229774,3558:241958,3706:244390,3747:244846,3776:248570,3827:250698,3865:251002,3870:272900,4087:290270,4294:298820,4397
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nathan Jones' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones recalls his paternal grandfather, who was born into slavery

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones talks about his family's land in Shreveport, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones describes his family community in Shreveport, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nathan Jones describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nathan Jones remembers his early work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones talks about the racial demographics of Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones talks about housing segregation in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones describes his family's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones talks about the mass incarceration of African Americans in Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones remembers his early interest in art

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nathan Jones describes his elementary schools in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones recalls his early artistic influences

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones remembers lessons from his schoolteachers

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones describes the start of his painting career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones recalls enrolling at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones recalls transferring to the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones describes his experiences at the Columbus College of Art and Design

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones recalls his medical exemption from U.S. military service

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones remembers earning his degree in art

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones recalls studying architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones remembers his professional aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones recalls his art show at Reverchon Park in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones talks about earning a living as an artist

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones describes his beliefs about material goods

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones describes his artistic style and process

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Nathan Jones describes the chemicals he uses in painting

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones talks about researching the subjects of his paintings

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones describes his postage stamp designs

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones recalls his commission to paint 'Now What Did I Do With That Nutmeg?'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones remembers inventing the Multicaddie

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones talks about the success of the Multicaddie

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones describes his ambitions for Multigolf Systems International

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nathan Jones talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nathan Jones describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nathan Jones reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nathan Jones reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nathan Jones talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nathan Jones describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nathan Jones narrates his photographs and paintings

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Nathan Jones recalls his art show at Reverchon Park in Dallas, Texas
Nathan Jones remembers inventing the Multicaddie
Transcript
Okay. Well you see, what I'm trying to do, is trying to find out in a chronological way what you did next. So we're jumping too--we're jumping around too much I think. So I'm trying to find out what you did after you got out of the University of Texas [University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas].$$Well after I got out of University of Texas, I continued to--that's when I did my Reverchon [Reverchon Park, Dallas, Texas] art show and made all this money, and then after that (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well tell me the story of that--okay, yeah all right.$$See I--$$Let's tell that story and then--$$Well, the way that happened, a girl by the name of Delores Martin is the one that intro- asked me to participate in this show. And I said, "Delores, I shouldn't do it because it's in--right there in Highland Park [Texas]," where it's the most prejudiced place in the United States I feel right there. And she said, "No Nathan [HistoryMaker Nathan Jones], I think you ought to do it 'cause, you know, they're a little bit open-minded." And I was very hesitant. And I went down and I did that show, and it was a three-day show. First day only lasted about a half day, sold all of my paintings except one. So I was rich (laughter). I felt rich. I had money, lots of it when I bought me a Continental [Lincoln Continental] and all kinds of stuff. But that was my beginning right there. So, and my wife and I got to move from Oak Cliff [Dallas, Texas] to North Dallas [Dallas, Texas] and--and we played with the money and we--I mean, it was just a real exciting. You know, we made all that money. And I kept this one painting--$$About how much money are we talking about?$$Oh, about thirty thousand dollars at least.$$And off of how many paintings sold?$$I probably had no more than probably twenty-five paintings. My paintings was never inexpensive. People used to laugh at me (laughter), but my teacher told me, Mrs. Collins, Gladys Collins [Gladys I. Collins], she said, "Set your price and don't negotiate it." She always said it, set your price. So what I always--what I do I put the price that I think it's worth and then I put the price that you can get it for. Now if you don't like the price that you can get it for, I go back and tell you, look, here's what you're getting. Here is the actual price. Now I got two prices, I got one. I used to have these six thousand--I was hung up on six thousand dollar prices way back then. Tell you what happened, while I was out--I was out--while I was on the Reverchon--out at Reverchon Park, here's how I made a lot of that money. A guy called me after I had gotten home and I had paintings that I would not take out of the house 'cause I didn't think I was gonna do any good with those. But these were my private things. Guy named Ray Ives [ph.] called me and he says, "Nathan, my brother," that's the way he talked. Nathan, my brother. And he's a white guy. He says, "I love your work and I wanna buy some." Now this guy's rich, okay. Lived on Turtle Creek [Dallas, Texas] in Highland Park again. So, he says--I said, "Well, what do you want." What, do you want an appointment or whatever. He said, "No," said, "I'm gonna leave it to you." He said, "You pick out me four paintings and bring them to me." And I said, "Well what price range?" He says, "Whatever you think." Now I'm really messed up because I don't wanna take him the most expensive paintings obviously and I don't wanna take him something that's gonna offend him. So I'm really messed up. And so all the time I'm sitting here thinking now how much, what should I do with this guy. I don't know, I really don't. So I put--I took some paintings that--these are my love things that I mean, I don't wanna sell. But here's an opportunity. So I took about two paintings for--from three thousand to five and then the highest one I took was seventeen thousand. Why not, it's seventeen thousand, that's what it's valued. And when I got there, he wrote me a check. He didn't say nothing. Just wrote me a check for those paintings. And he and I became friends, friends for years, years and years. I don't care where he go in the world, he calls me. But that was one thing that took my way up approximately thirty thousand dollars. And a--and a Lincoln Continental back then cost around eight or nine. So and you can get it loaded for everything. So, I'm just telling you how money, you know, money will buy a lot, thirty thousand dollars would buy a lot. In fact, that house over there that I was telling you that I couldn't buy, it was thirty-two thousand. But, anyway we was able to buy anything, we paid cash. We got plenty of cash, we just bought stuff. So that was my first big break.$Can you tell us now about the Multigolf [Multigolf Systems International] and how did you become an inventor, now you're an architect and artist and businessman (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Actually I've been wanting to invent all my life, ever since I was a kid. I said, if I invent one thing, I'm gonna just get rich. I would see--I didn't--you know, that's putting it a little before--cart before the horse. But I said, I'm gonna get rich if I--and so I used to write just all kinds of inventions. I got a whole file of things that I've invented. I invented this calendar and I said I'm gonna get rich with this thing because it's real unique. It's got pockets, it's just a big thing, it's got pockets and it's got dates and they're interchangeable, each. And so next month, all you do is interchange--just change the date, okay. And so you don't have to ever buy another calendar. You change the dates and you change the month. And this thing's got big pockets. Now these pockets are for, say for instance you want to mail a letter today and but you know that it's not due until three weeks from now or two weeks and you want your money to stay in your account. If you mail the check now they're gonna cash it, right. So what you do, you stick this letter in this slot when you're gonna mail it. So meanwhile four or five, ten days pass, you don't have to worry about it getting there late because it's sticking in this pouch, right. So when that time comes, you just take it out and you mail it. It gets there on time, your money stayed in the bank longer. So, this was a great calendar, I use it. I got one right now in front of my desk. I made this calendar, I went to get it--apply for a patent from one of these people, attorneys and things. And when they finished telling me how much money it was gonna cost me, I said, "No forget it, I'll just use it myself." So that's how I got involved with the patent things. And I did the--I went to play golf here about--it's been about ten years ago, maybe eight years ago. I was playing--I started playing golf 'cause I said, "I don't why anybody'd hit a ball and chase it for five hundred miles--for five hundred yards before they get to the green." So I didn't understand that. I didn't wanna play golf. But I started playing golf and when I got on the course, I had these new clubs and there was nothing to clean them up with 'cause I hit, you know, these golf course are moist, stay moisture--they keep moisture in the ground because what they do, they irrigate them all the time, they got to, to keep them pretty. So the grass is soft, and there's usually a little mud underneath the grass once you hit down. So I went to golf stores and I wanted to buy something to keep my clubs clean. Couldn't find a thing. So I had a patent search done by an attorney, nothing existed. So I then, that's when I went on through with my design. I designed this product that does ten things. Cleans balls, cleans clubs, cleans shoes, cleans grip, cleans hats, cleans--and provides water. So, this was a good product because all you do is take this product and you slide it on your golf bag. It's very small, does all these things. Not cumbersome, easy to install in just seconds. When you're finished, you just slide it off, put it in your golf bag, tighten it up and you got it. But then again, the functionality of it, you'd--you know, you need to know what it does, you know, all these ten things. But basically you need to clean your clubs. So everybody wants to clean their clubs. They pay--you pay eleven hundred dollars, eight hundred dollars for a set of golf clubs, you don't clean them, the dirt really grinds into the metal and wears your clubs out, wears on your clubs. So you need them clean. So, I designed this product that does all these things. So since I've done that, I got really seven--I got six patents, and I got seven or eight products that I've--two of them are not patented.$$Okay, now the golf product is called Multigolf, right?$$It's called the Multicaddie, yeah. The company that I established is called Multigolf Systems International and it looks like--it looks like this product should do really well on the market 'cause it--it's innovative, there's nothing like it and every golfer needs to clean. There's not a golfer that plays golf on earth that doesn't need to clean.

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jefferson Eugene Grigsby passed away on June 9, 2013.

Accession Number

A2007.204

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/11/2007 |and| 7/13/2007

Last Name

Grigsby

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Eugene

Schools

Second Ward High School

Morehouse College

The Ohio State University

New York University

American Artists School

École des Beaux-Arts

Search Occupation Category
First Name

J.

Birth City, State, Country

Greensboro

HM ID

GRI06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Phoenix, Arizona

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arizona

Birth Date

10/17/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Phoenix

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp, Salmon

Death Date

6/9/2013

Short Description

Fine artist, art professor, and high school art teacher Jefferson Eugene Grigsby (1918 - 2013 ) was selected in 1958 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to represent the United States as an art teacher at the Children's Creative Center at the Brussels World Fair. Grigsby published Art and Ethics: Background for Teaching Youth in a Pluralistic Society, the first book ever written for art teachers by an African American artist and author.

Employment

Carver High School

Phoenix Union High School District

Arizona State University

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:13510,157:18325,345:24959,415:62075,717:62520,723:87762,970:102350,1146:115418,1329:116264,1340:122752,1424:127444,1490:128056,1497:129892,1525:140378,1659:140913,1669:141555,1677:142304,1686:149309,1761:154346,1827:163988,2107:164364,2112:181782,2285:182418,2292:213220,2548:214210,2605:247805,2938:249465,2966:250046,2975:253781,3078:254362,3087:261996,3206:262828,3215:263452,3222:276100,3329:278424,3369:285130,3432:286150,3449:287170,3465:288904,3492:294004,3583:294412,3588:294922,3594:324410,3916$0,0:623,20:19584,409:49100,818:60046,880:61510,897:68734,943:74033,1013:74438,1019:88631,1165:90806,1201:94721,1300:96722,1349:101315,1380:120404,1587:134846,1752:135455,1761:144418,1919:148162,1995:157510,2091:162060,2114:162352,2171:185564,2340:191260,2397:202840,2516:203800,2532:217712,2644:218252,2650:219945,2671:220641,2680:223164,2722:227910,2773:240920,2952:250342,3040:250958,3049:256117,3207:267486,3347:271420,3389
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jefferson Eugene Grigsby's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his mother's personality and upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his father's upbringing and career

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his grade school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the community of Prairie View, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his introduction to painting

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers the Second Ward High School in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art classes at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about the Works Progress Administration

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his introduction to New York City's arts community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Langston Hughes

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers New York City's Harlem community

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art residency at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his promotions in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers organizing a U.S. Army band

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his deployment to Europe during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls mounting theater productions while serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his marriage and the start of his teaching career

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers George Washington Carver High School in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his art students at George Washington Carver High School

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls the closure of George Washington Carver High School

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls teaching at Phoenix Union High School in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers travelling internationally as an artist

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes L'Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts in France

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers his transition to teaching

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his colleagues at George Washington Carver High School in Phoenix, Arizona

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his adjustment to Phoenix Union High School

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his wife's career

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Expo 58 in Belgium

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls the African American expatriates at Expo 58

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers traveling in Europe with his family

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls returning home from Belgium

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his honorary doctorate in fine art

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls joining the faculty of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his accomplishments as an art professor

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers interviewing African American artists

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his work with the National Art Education Association

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his research on African art traditions

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls curating an African art exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls curating an African art exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the black community's support of the Heard Museum

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his final years at Arizona State University

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby reflects upon the role of art competitions

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes the Consortium of Black Organizations and Others for the Arts

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about his retirement from Arizona State University

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his artistic style and influences

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about aspiring African American artists

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby talks about commercialism in art

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby reflects upon his role in the African American community

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby shares a message to future generations

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers artist Grace Hampton

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$7

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Jefferson Eugene Grigsby recalls his introduction to painting
Jefferson Eugene Grigsby remembers Expo 58 in Belgium
Transcript
When we came to Charlotte [North Carolina], I think I came in the eighth grade.$$In reading some of your history, I came across a name, Walker Foster. Does that--$$Yeah.$$Could you tell us about Walker Foster?$$Well, when we moved to Charlotte, I immediately got me a paper route and I was--it was during the Depression [Great Depression]. At that time, I was buying all my clothes and pretty much taking care of myself financially other than food and what we had at home. So, in the paper route, the people I could count on and the people who I had problems in collecting from, seemed like the teachers and the preachers were the ones I had the hardest time collecting from. Well, at that time, teachers weren't being paid and such, but prostitutes and pimps then were the ones I could--had no problems collecting from bootleggers. So, so--but Walker Foster was a, a class of his own. He was a stone mason, and he hadn't paid me in a month or more, but I knew he would pay if I could catch him. So, one morning about four o'clock as I was delivering his papers, I saw lights on at the house and I knocked on the door. When he opened the door, there was a lot of lights and paintings were all around the room. And I said, "Where did you get these paintings?" He said he painted them. I laughed. I laughed in his face because he didn't fit my preconception of what an artist should look like. Here, this guy was quite black and kind of dumpy. He, he had really dull hands from laying bricks and all. When I--my impression of a--of an artist was blonde and blue eyes and such. So he saw I didn't believe him. He said, "If you don't believe me, would you like to come and watch?" Of course. I went down and watched, and after watching him a few weeks, he asked me if I wanted to try, put a brush in my hand and that was it.$$What facilitated the move to Charlotte? Why did you all go there?$$My dad [Jefferson Eugene Grigsby, Sr.] got a job as principal of the high school [Second Ward High School, Charlotte, North Carolina]. He--it was a challenge for him because he, he had worked in a high school in Lynchburg [Virginia], but not since then. So he packed up the family and moved in several different times. He bought a--bought an old car. We didn't have a car before that, name was Essex. And one--and driving, I went with him once from Winston-Salem [North Carolina] to Charlotte and he asked me if I wanted to drive, so I did. So I was twelve years old then. So I was driving and a policeman stopped. And when he, he came up and said--he asked me, "How old are you boy?" I said, "I'm fourteen." Well, you had to be sixteen. And after, he said--told dad, "You drive this car." And when he started driving, dad said, "Why didn't you tell him you were sixteen?" I said, "I didn't wanna tell that big a lie," (laughter).$$Now, you're, you're in Charlotte. Let's--and you found this--you found mister--Mr. Foster Walker.$$Yeah.$$Now, what was your feeling aside from the fact that you saw the paintings and didn't believe that he had done them? What was your feeling about art and paintings when you saw those paintings?$$I thought they were real nice. I didn't have any, anything beyond that I don't think at that time. I didn't have a desire to paint. It was only after Walker Foster had me trying or doing some paintings, some of which I still have that I got interested in art.$$What was the feeling when you first took that first brush and started to paint and touch it to that canvas?$$(Laughter) It's weird. It's unexpected, really, as to what might happen.$$And what was his reaction when he saw you doing this?$$I think he was pleased. I think he was pleased that he had--in fact, I know, after a while he used to take pride in introducing me.$$So, at this stage, you're--approximately how old are you now, would you say you are now?$$Between twelve and thirteen, yeah.$We're gonna go back through the '50s [1950s], the end of the '50s [1950s], and were there any, any particular events in the '50s [1950s], late '50s [1950s], that are important that, that we talk about today? For instance, we do know that you did some World's Fair [Expo 58, Brussels, Belgium] things.$$That was in '58 [1958] and I think we--didn't we talk about the (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Let's go over it again just for a moment. You, you went to--where did you go?$$I went to Brussels [Belgium], and we went there and it was cold. The fair had just opened. And Victor D'Amico who was the educational director of the Museum of Modern Art and who had invited me came along in the beginning. There were three of us. I was the only one who was not on the regular staff of the Museum of Modern Art in New York [New York]. The--D'Amico had designed two rooms, one in which we brought children in and they had toys that stimulated creativity. In the next room, they had easels for painting and a big table with all kind of objects on it for construction. Well, when we got there, there were very few kids around. So I saw a teacher with about twelve kids walking through, with the boys about ten, twelve years old. So, I ran out and grabbed them and said, "Come on over here. Here's something you might be interested in." So, they came in and it was cold. They took off their coats and hung them up. And these were Flemish kids, and they ran around and they were very aggressive. I thought at once they might tear up some of the toys they had there. We had one toy that was like a piano but it--as you press the key, you got a color on a screen and you could mix colors with--and they were rambunctious with these. Finally, went into the second room and sit down to paint. And they sat down and when they sat down, they pulled the cigarettes out and started--and I said, "Well, no smoking." At that time, we were smoking and I felt like a hypocrite.$$How old were these children?$$Ten, eleven, twelve years old (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$They were Flemish kids. And when they left, one of them said to me and I--as he was putting his coat on, he said, (speaking French), "Embrassez-moi." And I said, what did you say? And he turned around and demonstrated kiss my ass (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$We had--there were three of us from the United States. There was a maid to help clean up afterwards, there was a person who went to the various schools to bring in the students, and there was a couple of other people. There was about five of us in there. And we had a number of languages covered. The--so when the kids would enter, we learned to speak to them in their language and we'd determine that by the way they dressed and the conversations they were having. So, it's, sprichst du Deutsch, it's, parlez-vous francais? Or somebody in Spanish would speak. One kid came in and sat down, I said, "You speak English?" He said, "No." "Parlez-vous francais?" "No." Sprichst du Deutsch?" "No." And I called somebody else over to ask him and I was frustrated. I said, "What in the hell do you speak?" He said, "I speak American."$$(Laughter).$$And we went to England after that and listened to some of these cockneys, and you couldn't understand what they were saying. They were speaking English. So, all those little things really helped me understand.