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Lee Ransaw

Fine artist and art professor Lee Ransaw, was born on March 24, 1938, in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Sylvia and Lee Lester. In 1955, Ransaw received his high school diploma from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He later attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana where he earned his B.A. degree in art education in 1962 and his M.A. degree in fine arts in 1966. In 1973, Ransaw received his Ed.D. degree from Illinois State University.

While Ransaw was a graduate student at Illinois State University, he travelled to Nashville, Tennessee where he met artist and scholar David Driskell. This visit inspired Ransaw to begin collecting artwork for his private art collection. After taking courses at Pratt Institute in New York, Ransaw moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he taught African art and Afro-American art at Emory University. In 1979, Ransaw was hired at Morris Brown College as an art professor where he painted the Centennial Mural which depicted the history of the college. The mural was considered to be a national project and was commissioned by the Atlanta Coca Cola Bottling Company. In 2002, Ransaw along with Lamar Wilson, director of Ruth Hall Hodges Art Gallery, founded The National Alliance of Artists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (NAAHBCU) on the campus of Morris Brown College. Ransaw, then dean of arts and letters, and chair of the fine art department at the college, initially held a statewide exhibit that featured the artwork of the art faculty from Georgia based HBCUs. NAAHBCU held its first major traveling exhibition entitled Visions From Within at the James Kemp Gallery at The Black Academy of Arts & Letters in Dallas, Texas and featured thirty artists. In 2004, Ransaw was hired as an adjunct art professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Ramsaw retired as president of NAAHBCU in 2010 and served as chairman of the organization.

Among his many honors and awards were The Distinguished United Negro College Fund Scholars Award in Washington, D.C., The Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Ford Foundation Fellowship, and a Bronze Jubilee Award for artistic achievement given by PBS in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lee Ransaw was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April, 19, 2011.

Accession Number

A2011.026

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/19/2011

Last Name

Ransaw

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Shortridge High School

Indiana University

Illinois State University

George Washington Carver Elementary School 87

Pulaski Elementary School

Indiana University Northwest

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lee

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

RAN09

Favorite Season

May

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France

Favorite Quote

Be Well, Do Good Work, And Keep In Touch.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/24/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster

Short Description

Fine artist and art professor Lee Ransaw (1938 - ) was the dean of arts and letters and chair of the fine arts department at Morris Brown College and founder of The National Alliance of Artists from Historically Black Colleges.

Employment

Emory University

Morris Brown College

National Alliance of Artists from Historically Black Colleges

Spelman College

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lee Ransaw's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lee Ransaw lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lee Ransaw describes his father's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lee Ransaw remembers his stepfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lee Ransaw describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lee Ransaw remembers moving to Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lee Ransaw talks about his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lee Ransaw describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lee Ransaw remembers living with his maternal relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lee Ransaw recalls attending East Pulaski School in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lee Ransaw talks about his early interest in art

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lee Ransaw describes his earliest memories of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Lee Ransaw describes his neighborhood in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Lee Ransaw talks about housing segregation in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lee Ransaw recalls attending George Washington Carver Elementary School 87 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lee Ransaw remembers his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lee Ransaw recalls attending Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lee Ransaw talks about his childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lee Ransaw recalls attending University United Methodist Church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lee Ransaw describes his neighborhood in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lee Ransaw recalls his teachers and classmates

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lee Ransaw describes race relations in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lee Ransaw talks about African American representation in the media

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lee Ransaw recalls his decision to attend John Herron Art Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lee Ransaw describes his mother's family background

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lee Ransaw recalls transferring to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lee Ransaw describes race relations at Indiana University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lee Ransaw remembers his professors at Indiana University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lee Ransaw describes his art education at Indiana University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lee Ransaw recalls his experiences at Indiana University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lee Ransaw remembers his appointment to cryptologic linguist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lee Ransaw recalls being stationed with the U.S. Army in Venice, Italy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lee Ransaw describes his role as a cryptologic linguist in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lee Ransaw recalls his first teaching job

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lee Ransaw remembers the deaths of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lee Ransaw describes his dissertation on the Wall of Respect

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lee Ransaw recalls his introduction to African American art

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lee Ransaw describes his early knowledge of the black aesthetic

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lee Ransaw talks about his dissertation committee, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lee Ransaw talks about his dissertation committee, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lee Ransaw describes his children

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lee Ransaw recalls being hired at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lee Ransaw recalls becoming department chair at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lee Ransaw remembers receiving a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lee Ransaw recalls starting his art collection

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lee Ransaw describes living and working in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lee Ransaw talks about some of his art exhibits

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lee Ransaw describes his improvements to the art department at Morris Brown College

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lee Ransaw recalls painting murals for Morris Brown College

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lee Ransaw describes his artwork, 'Dance of the Chicken Thieves'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lee Ransaw recalls receiving a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Lee Ransaw describes Atlanta's artistic renaissance

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Lee Ransaw talks about strategy behind collecting art

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Lee Ransaw recalls the founding of the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Lee Ransaw describes his work at Morris Brown College in the late 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lee Ransaw talks about organizing an exhibit for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lee Ransaw recalls founding the National Alliance of Artists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lee Ransaw reflects upon his accomplishments and fellowships

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lee Ransaw recalls helping Dan Moore, Sr. to establish the APEX Museum in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lee Ransaw remembers painter Benny Andrews

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lee Ransaw describes the exhibit 'Coming by Force: Overcoming by Choice'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lee Ransaw talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lee Ransaw describes his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lee Ransaw shares a message for future generations of artists

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Lee Ransaw reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$2

DAStory

8$10

DATitle
Lee Ransaw recalls being stationed with the U.S. Army in Venice, Italy
Lee Ransaw recalls his decision to attend John Herron Art Institute
Transcript
So I got my assignment. Everybody got their assignments at Fort Gordon [Georgia]. Mine didn't come through. Everybody got their assignments. Some went to Vietnam and some went every place, and they didn't come to me. And they had a list of the top five or six graduates for crypto school[cryptologic school]. I was number four. The top five was supposed to go to Paris [France]. And, and four of 'em went, and I didn't go. They kept me there on post. And so I didn't know what it was, so I went to the IG, the inspector general and said, you know, "This is racism. Why didn't I get my assignment," which was a civilian status job in Paris. He said, "Well, I'm gonna look into this, we're gonna look into this and find out why you didn't get this school." So they came back with the excuse that they wanted me there on post to play basketball and play baseball. I said, "But you guys didn't know I play basketball. How you gonna put me on basketball team?" Said, "We'll cut you another assignment." So two or three weeks later--they didn't tell me where they were sending me, they put me on a plane to New York. And I ended up in New York at the fort up there, I can't remember the fort. But I went there. And they had APO 221 on my, for my mail. And so I went to the post office 'cause mother [Sylvia Hall Ransaw] and everybody was asking me, "Where are you going?" And I couldn't tell 'em. So I went to APO 221, and that was Italy. I was supposed to go to Italy, and I said, "Well, that's a pretty good assignment." But in this crypto school, which is interesting, they give you a lie detector test as I said. And on this test, they'll ask you a lot of questions, and then one of the questions they came to, they said, "Have you ever cheated on a college exam before?" I said, "No." Then they went down and asked some more questions. And they came back to that same question, "Have you ever cheated on a college--," they asked it a different way. My heart started jumping, and I remembered the time that I had looked on somebody else's paper for something, and I said, "No." So we got through the test, and he unstrapped me. He got me up, and he said, "Do you have anything to say?" I said, "Oh, yeah, on that college exam, you asked me one question, I remembered I had looked on somebody else's paper." He said, "I'm glad you told me that 'cause we were about to kick you out of school" (laughter). I was about to be gone. But I got a very nice assignment in Venice, Italy, Venezia, Italy, in crypto--and where I wanted to be. That's because it's a center of art, Venice, Venezia, Florence [Italy], Rome [Italy] and I stayed over there for several years playing basketball and finished up [U.S.] military.$$Because this is the time of Vietnam, you have this really nice assignment in Italy, but did you understand about the Vietnam War? At that time, did you understand what was going on?$$I understand--I understood when I got to Italy because several of my friends that were over there got killed. And I did crypto so Red Cross would send me messages, and I'd see their names come across. And I knew these people, a lot of these people that were getting killed over there. They were down at Fort Gordon, Fort Leonard Wood [Missouri] with me. And I knew the gravity of that situation over there, and it's just fortunate I didn't get sent over there.$$Okay, and so how long were you in Italy?$$I was there for about three years.$Who helped you prepare for college? Did you know that you were definitely gonna go to college?$$I knew a long time ago that I was gonna go to college, yes, I did. I knew. And I think my role model for that, it was interesting. I had, was out playing basketball one day with the guys on the, in the community center. And one of the guys who was playing, he was very good. And I was guarding him, and we started talking, and I said, "What do you do?" And he said, "I teach at a college." And he named the college out in California that he taught at. And I said, man, this guy plays basketball and doing real well, and he's teaching at a college, a young guy like this. You know, I think I might wanna do that, you know. And that was one of the things that got in my head early in life that I wanted to do. And the other thing, I was watching a television program. And I can't think of the actor's name, but he was, the scene of his, his series was that he was a college professor. And he used to wear a sweater all the time. And he was very mild mannered, and he spoke in a very mild mannered. And I said, "Man, that's an idea. I'd sure like to do what he's doing," you know. Well, those two things kind of stuck in my head, you know, for a long time. And I said, "Well, you know, I think I'd like to go to college," you know. And I always worked towards that at that point, you know. And then the things that I learned at Shortridge [Shortridge High School, Indianapolis, Indiana] kind of more or less cemented that desire to go and, go to college.$$How did you decide what college you would go to or apply to?$$Well, the most popular college in Indiana was Indiana University [Bloomington, Indiana]. Everybody, 'cause everybody started talking it up, kids from other areas, friends, and they wanted to go to IU. And so I was in art, and I wanted to go to IU too, but my mother [Sylvia Hall Ransaw] said, "No, you're not going down there your first year. We're gonna send you here to the extension, and you can take your art courses or take some courses over to John Herron [John Herron Art Institute; Herron School of Art and Design] or someplace like that." Well, John Herron was a very fine art school. It was located there too, in Indianapolis [Indiana]. Hale Woodruff and some of the other well known artists had gone to, had been a John Herron. So that's what I did. The first year I decided--and I worked. I went out to the, the state fair, got my first job at Allis Chalmers [Allis Chalmers Manufacturing Company], shining tractors. And I'd jump over the fence, go over there, go to work every day, and that gave me my first paycheck, all went toward college. Everything I started doing was directed toward college. So Mother could see that I was putting in and wanted to go that badly, she was gonna send me, but she wasn't gonna send me down on campus the first year. And it's a good thing she didn't because once I started going down there, I went down there, a lot of my friends who had gone down there partying and playing was coming back. They had flunked out. So when I went down, you know, I was pretty much prepared.$$And so what courses did you take at John Herron?$$I took still life painting, how to paint an apple so that if you put a fly on it, or paint a fly on it, it looks like it's real and all that stuff or one would be attracted to it. Those were the kind of courses I took, very varied (laughter). Then we'd go out sometimes and paint old sheds or old houses, draw 'em, and that was, that was very nice.

Bob Carter

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

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2010.002

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/27/2010

Last Name

Carter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

G

Occupation
Schools

Harvey C. Russell Junior High School

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School

Louisville Central High School Magnet Career Academy

Paul Laurence Dunbar School

University of Louisville

Pratt Institute

School of Visual Arts

Parsons School of Design

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Organizations

First Name

Robert "Bob"

Birth City, State, Country

Louisville

HM ID

CAR19

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Kentucky

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

To Make A Long Story Short.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/29/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chili

Short Description

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

Employment

WHAS-TV

Freelance

Nassau Community College

Favorite Color

All Colors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

4$8

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

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
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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.

William T. Williams

Artist William Thomas Williams, Jr. was born on July 17, 1942, in Cross Creek, North Carolina, to William Thomas Williams, Sr. and Hazel Williams. Williams’s family moved to Queens, New York, when he was four years old, but Williams would continue to visit North Carolina in the summertime.

In 1956, Williams met famed artist Jacob Lawrence, an encounter that helped him believe that he could be a professional artist. That same year, Williams was admitted to the High School for Industrial Arts in Manhattan, where he often frequented the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After graduating from high school as a member of the National Honor Society, Williams entered New York City Community College in 1960, and graduated two years later with his A.A.S. degree.

In 1962, Williams was admitted into Pratt Institute. In the summer of 1965, Williams attended a summer art program at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. Williams graduated with honors from Pratt Institute with his B.F.A. degree in 1966, then attended Yale University School of Art and Architecture, where he earned his M.F.A. degree in 1968. Williams returned to New York City, and with the help of his parents, rented a Soho loft that remained his home and studio throughout his career. Soon after, Williams married Patricia De Weese, with whom he had two children: Aaron and Nila.

Williams’s first exhibit was a part of a group exhibition called X to the Fourth Power; it was held at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York in 1969, a place he would return to for exhibitions numerous times. In 1971, Williams had his first show at the Reese Paley Art Gallery, where he sold out his entire exhibit. Throughout the 1970s, Williams’s work would be exhibited at a number of venues, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum in New York, the American Embassy in Moscow, and the Fondation Maeght in France.

In 1970, Williams became a professor of art at Brooklyn College, and in 1971, he began a summer residency as a member of the faculty at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, a position he would hold again in 1974 and 1978. Williams became the director pro tem at Skowhegan School in 1979.

In the late 1970s, Williams took his first trip to Africa, which influenced the style of his work throughout the 1980s. In 1984, Williams became a visiting professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the following year held a solo exhibition at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Williams became the first black artist included in H.W. Janson’s History of Art textbook in 1986, and in 1987, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Williams continued to work throughout the 1990s, and his work was included in the To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities touring exhibit in 1999. In 2006, Williams was awarded the prestigious North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor the state can bequeath.

Accession Number

A2007.118

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/29/2007

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Middle Name

T.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

High School of Art and Design

Yale University

PS 39 Henry Brostow School

J.H.S. 198, Benjamin N. Cardozo Junior High School

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Crosscreek

HM ID

WIL37

Favorite Season

Summer

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Do it right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/17/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Potato Chips

Short Description

Painter and art professor William T. Williams (1942 - ) became the first African American artist included in H.W. Janson’s History of Art text in 1986. An abstract expressionist painter, he taught art at Brooklyn College, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Employment

School of Visual Arts

Fisk University

Virginia Commonwealth University

Brooklyn College

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6500,84:7940,120:8740,134:19578,278:20106,285:21690,309:22042,314:25386,375:31550,472:32159,483:35870,501:36536,509:37720,531:38016,536:40014,570:40754,583:49096,645:50097,663:50713,672:60960,814:65295,887:65720,893:83620,1110:84520,1122:88204,1149:89024,1160:92620,1194:93180,1199:93740,1204:105670,1342:107510,1377:113270,1481:115910,1522:117030,1532:117750,1543:118150,1549:126934,1573:127501,1582:128149,1592:130741,1633:132118,1657:135358,1733:135682,1738:136573,1751:139165,1800:149094,1889:149758,1898:151700,1936$0,0:17189,298:20677,329:22094,351:22748,358:24702,377:25850,397:33968,650:34624,660:35854,684:38396,730:44548,770:46546,824:47360,837:48026,850:49728,878:51356,910:52318,930:56025,943:56475,951:57075,960:57900,978:58950,997:60075,1016:60750,1028:63974,1046:64810,1060:65342,1068:67394,1100:68002,1110:70662,1199:71194,1222:89854,1455:96001,1521:96540,1530:97079,1538:102040,1588:102960,1601:103696,1611:106560,1657:107370,1672:108000,1680:110880,1724:113850,1772:119652,1802:123264,1874:123768,1884:124440,1900:130824,2012:131412,2020:132588,2041:138978,2098:139302,2103:141489,2148:144665,2186:146660,2215:156611,2392:159460,2449:166000,2513:170240,2603:179085,2634:179475,2642:192306,2843:196718,2867:198030,2886:199752,3041:211924,3185:214302,3222:215204,3236:216024,3248:219740,3270:222692,3314:223484,3333:224132,3344:224924,3356:225284,3362:226364,3383:227444,3404:227804,3411:237830,3519:244926,3631:245583,3642:246824,3663:250036,3712:252810,3787:253102,3792:253905,3805:261004,3826:261212,3831:261680,3843:262304,3858:262720,3867:264300,3876:267030,3922:270579,3979:276039,4048:283030,4135:284080,4151:284360,4156:284990,4173:285620,4185:286040,4193:287510,4220:293040,4329:293530,4334:294230,4345:298570,4459:303190,4482
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William T. Williams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William T. Williams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William T. Williams describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William T. Williams talks about his maternal grandfather and step-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William T. Williams describes his mother's musical background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William T. Williams describes his family's religious upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William T. Williams describes the Overhills estate in North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William T. Williams describes his father's U.S. Army service

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William T. Williams talks about his childhood in the North and South

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William T. Williams describes his family's food traditions

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William T. Williams remembers his grandmother's garden

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William T. Williams recalls his family's traditions in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William T. Williams describes his family's craftwork

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William T. Williams lists his schools and siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William T. Williams describes his neighborhood in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William T. Williams describes J.H.S. 198 in Queens, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William T. Williams recalls his early interest in art

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William T. Williams remembers meeting Jacob Lawrence

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William T. Williams recalls attending the School of Industrial Art in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William T. Williams describes his early artistic development

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William T. Williams recalls his commute to the School of Industrial Art

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William T. Williams describes his peers at the School of Industrial Art

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - William T. Williams recalls his decision to attend the Pratt Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - William T. Williams remembers his growing interest in painting

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William T. Williams describes the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William T. Williams recalls his relationship with Leonard Bocour

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William T. Williams remembers reencountering Jacob Lawrence

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William T. Williams remembers the Yale School of Art and Architecture in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William T. Williams describes the exclusion of black artists from galleries

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William T. Williams recalls discrimination at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William T. Williams remembers teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William T. Williams recalls acquiring his studio

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William T. Williams remembers protests against the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William T. Williams describes his decision to decline a museum guard position

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - William T. Williams recalls his artist residency program at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - William T. Williams remembers his early art career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William T. Williams remembers founding the Smokehouse Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William T. Williams describes the black arts community in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William T. Williams recalls the exclusion of black artists from museums

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William T. Williams remembers his first solo art show

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William T. Williams remembers exhibiting his artwork in France

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William T. Williams describes his artistic influences

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William T. Williams remembers his inclusion in the 'Whitney Annual'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William T. Williams talks about his philosophy of art

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William T. Williams reflects upon his growth as an artist

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - William T. Williams describes his interest in teaching

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - William T. Williams reflects upon aging as an artist

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - William T. Williams remembers his trip to Nigeria

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - William T. Williams describes the shift in his art career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William T. Williams recalls his residency at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William T. Williams describes his courses on African American art

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William T. Williams talks about being a father

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William T. Williams recalls directing the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William T. Williams remembers the emergence of pop art

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William T. Williams remembers Jean-Michel Basquiat

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William T. Williams talks about the value of work by artists of color

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William T. Williams describes his generation of African American artists

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - William T. Williams talks about the next generation of artists of color

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - William T. Williams describes teaching at the City University of New York

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - William T. Williams describes teaching in the South

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - William T. Williams describes the shift in his artistic style

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - William T. Williams describes his painting, 'Cape Split'

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - William T. Williams describes his painting, 'Batman'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William T. Williams remembers his role in the opening of the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William T. Williams recalls his exhibition at the Museo Alejandro Otero in Venezuela

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William T. Williams describes his award from the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William T. Williams reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William T. Williams describes his hopes for his paintings

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William T. Williams describes his plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William T. Williams describes his children

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William T. Williams talks about his approach to business

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - William T. Williams shares his advice to aspiring artists

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - William T. Williams describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - William T. Williams reflects upon the impact of affirmative action policies

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - William T. Williams talks about African American museum curators and directors

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - William T. Williams remembers his parents' support

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - William T. Williams narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

11$8

DATitle
William T. Williams remembers his grandmother's garden
William T. Williams talks about his philosophy of art
Transcript
But I think that the, the porch, the extended porch in the late evenings, you know, after everything had been done, the exchanging of stories, the laughter, the joke-telling, I would never exchange any of that experience for anything that I, you know, that could have come if I wasn't there. One of the, the fond memories, and I always kind of relate this, is my [maternal] grandmother [Sophia Davis Jackson] made all of the kids rake the yard in the late evenings. And this was a ritual every day, work is over, dinner is over, kids have to go out and rake the front yard and she would meticulously instruct us of how to do it. You couldn't just rake it, the patterns that were there, she was really very particular about the patterns and forces us to go back and really kind of manicure this yard the way she wanted it manicured. And the odd thing, I was in Japan many, many, many years later, and saw a temple where the sand had been raked and it was like a thunderbolt had hit me, between that experience as a child and raking the yard out front, and this experience of having seen that in Japan. Two things came together, and an aesthetic experience came to me, you know, the, it was more than just her implanting labor for us, she was implanting an idea about an aesthetic and about a, a kind of spiritual environment that she was cultivating, and certainly she was transmitting a kind of body of information to us as well.$$Where had that information come from, do you know?$$I have no idea. My grandmother's house had flowers on three sides. It is the thing that she spent the most time in, in this garden, other than working. Once work was over, there were two passions, the yard out front and the garden, and there were just endless flowers. There were some in the ground, some in buckets. She would move these jars and buckets around, but that's, that's what I really remember about the South, a great deal of that.$So when you were living in the area [New York, New York] and you had all of the, like Camille [HistoryMaker Camille Billops] and all of you guys were in this, you know, this very small area, was there any opportunity ever to collectively do something amongst yourselves?$$Yes. Yeah. I organized, early in 1970 I organized this show called 'X to the Fourth Power.' 'X to the Fourth Power' was a show of Mel Edwards [Melvin Edwards], [HistoryMaker] Sam Gilliam, myself and a white artist named Steve Kelsey [Stephen Kelsey], another Yale [Yale School of Art and Architecture; Yale School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut] graduate. The thrust of the work were people that were making really large-scale paintings 'cause Steve was working, you know, like his painting, I think in the show is eight by eighteen feet. Sam was working very large, I was working ten by ten, and you could not, if you looked at the work, you could not separate the work in terms of this thing called quality. What you could see was that there was a commonality of an interest in a certain modern idea of art making. You could see different sensibilities like Sam's sense of color was drastically different than Steve's sense of color and how color was going to be used. And certainly different than my sense of color. You--if you could look closely, you could see all of these sensibilities, the difference in sensibilities. Well, I think what that show did, The New York Times reviewed it, Sunday New York Times, gave it center stage in terms of talking about it. And the critic was sensitive enough to bring up the issue and suggest that here were four artists that were working on the highest level and that it, it is the dialogue about race becomes secondary and maybe unimportant in relation to this exhibition. Later on, Sam and I and Mel showed together a great deal. There were a number of shows that were organized during that time that were all African American artists, but the overriding thing was alright we were African Americans but it was quality of the art in the exhibition. There was another show called 'Five Plus One' [ph.] that Sam Hunter organized. Again, along artists that were in this case, primarily abstract, but again the underriding thing again was what are the difference in the sensibilities, what are the difference in the aesthetic, what are the difference in the ideas among these artists. And that's the way we tried to, to focus and tried to do this. There were endless panels I was on during that period of time, where the issue of black art came up, the issue of art in the community, and (pause) I think what we always tried to do during those times, we had a lot of conversations with, among ourselves. We had a lot of conversations with artists that were not abstract. We had a lot of conversations with, with writers, try to come to terms with what we were trying to do as artists. What is the role and the responsibility of the artist, you know, I mean, those discussions (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) What were those answers? What were some of those answers for you, the role and responsibilities?$$Well, it depends on if you see yourself as a vehicle. In other words, if you see yourself as a vehicle for culture, and that you have an internalized experience and you may have the God-given ability to communicate those experiences to other people, then you are just a vehicle for maintaining those experiences and transmitting those experience to other people, and that's the primary function and role of the artist, as you are a God-given medium to do that. Now I liked that idea a lot because it forces an incredible responsibility upon the artist that you not only have to see that, you have to internalize that and you have to realize why it's important to preserve that. I, I like that way of making art and thinking about it because it, it, it's an, it's an accumulative responsibility of every lady that ever touched me in the church, my head and said, "Hey Scooter Boy." Every uncle that I had that came home tired and took the time to ask how I was doing, to all of those kind of disappointments that people have. It seems to me part of what an artist does is you become your collective consciousness of all of that and it's not you to illustrate that, but to realize that that experience that you've internalized is all of that's contained in it. There's pain, there's joy, there's all of these other things contained in it.

Kevin Cole

Art professor and mixed media artist Kevin E. Cole was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on January 19, 1960 to Jessie and Sam Cole, Jr. He received his B.S. degree in art education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1982; his M.A. degree in art education a year later, and his M.F.A degree in drawing from Northern Illinois University in 1984.

Cole began his art career as an art teacher at Camp Creek Middle School in College Park, Georgia in 1985. At the same time, he also became an adjunct oprofessor at Georgia State University’s School of Art and Design where he remained until 1998. In 1990, Cole was chairperson of the visual and performing arts magnet program of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia until 1994. Later, in 2003, he became the chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Westlake High School where created the school's first arts program. Cole’s artwork is well known for including imagery of neckties as symbols of power and emphasizes the relationship between color and music, particularly jazz, blues, hip-hop, and gospel. He incorporates patterns and textures from traditional African cloths to speak to human conditions and behaviors.

In 1994, Cole was commissioned by the Coca-Cola Company to create a fifteen story mural celebrating the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. The mural took two years to create and was a little over 800 square feet. He has been featured in Who’s Who in Education and received the Award of Excellence for Public Art by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.

Cole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 15, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.009

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/15/2007

Last Name

Cole

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Pine Bluff High School

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Northern Illinois University

Indiana Street Elementary School

Belair Middle School

Southeast Junior High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, Weekends

First Name

Kevin

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

COL12

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Teens

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, Teens

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Forests, Water

Favorite Quote

There's No Limit Of What A Man Can Do And Where He Can Go If It Doesn't Matter Who Gets The Credit. You Learn Through The Process Of Doing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/19/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cabbage

Short Description

Mixed media artist and art professor Kevin Cole (1960 - ) was an adjunct professor at Georgia State University's School of Art and Design until 1998. From 1992, Cole's artwork evolved from the use of the necktie as an icon, motif and symbol of power. His work emphasized the relationship between color and music, particularly jazz, blues, rap, and gospel.

Employment

Westlake High School

North Springs Charter High School

Georgia State University

Tri-Cities High School

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kevin Cole's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole describes his paternal grandfather, Sam Cole, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole talks about his father's education and military career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sam Cole describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole describes lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sam Cole describes how his mother and father met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kevin Cole talks about growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sam Cole describes Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sam Cole talks about his daily life as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sam Cole describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sam Cole describes his experience at Indiana Street Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sam Cole remembers discovering his talent for art

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes his experience at the integrated Belair Middle School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole describes his parents' political views

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole describes his education at Belair Middle School in Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole describes growing up on the east side of Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kevin Cole remembers Southeast Junior High School in Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kevin Cole remembers his early mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kevin Cole describes his experience at Pine Bluff High School

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Kevin Cole recalls his mentors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Kevin Cole talks about his artistic mentors' awards

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Kevin Cole describes how his artwork developed in college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole lists his art professors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole describes his experience pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole talks about Halima Taha's book

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole recalls racial discrimination at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes his artistic process at graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree [MFA]

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his experience as an African American artist

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole talks about racial discrimination in the art world

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole talks about his student, Kara Walker

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Kevin Cole talks about artists he admires

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole remember his early teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole recalls his commission to create a mural at Atlanta City Hall

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole describes the visual performing arts magnet program at Tri-Cities High School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole talks about his art made from bent wood

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole recalls being commissioned for the 1996 Summer Olympics

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole talks about collaborating on the 1996 Summer Olympics mural

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes his career after painting the 1996 Summer Olympics mural

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his future career plans

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole talks about other artists that he admires

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole describes the subjects of his recent work

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole shares a message for future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole talks about the importance of art education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole lists some of the proprietors of his art

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his children, Skylar Cole and Nia Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

14$4

DATitle
Kevin Cole recalls his mentors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Kevin Cole recalls being commissioned for the 1996 Summer Olympics
Transcript
So, you decide to go to work--to college, and tell me about your first experience when you get, get to college.$$Well, okay. When I decided to attend University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff [Pine Bluff, Arkansas], I went out for an interview and I talked to this guy. His name was John--the late John Howard, and I know there were a lot of people trying to become artists at Pine Bluff. And Mr. Howard, he took me around and I had these drawings and took me around to all the faculty, and Ernest Davidson, the--'cause I was doing sculpture, Ernest Davidson was the sculpture teacher. He just died recently. And then there was--[HistoryMaker] Henri Linton was on leave. The one that stood--that stood out to me the most was this guy named Tarrance Corbin, guy about maybe 5'6", 5'7". And everybody was ranting and raving over my portfolio. I took my portfolio to him. He looked at it, he said, "It's typical seventeen-year-old work." I got outside, I said, "You know what? That little short man, he think he bad," (laughter). And he became my--he--he's still--he--I'm his--I'm his godson. We, we talk--we talk every--we talk at least three times a week. I never knew he would be that mentor for me. And I always say when my career has gone--I've, I've always had good, good, good mentors. Ernest Davidson, who recently just passed away, he was the one that, that--he was that calm part of it, for me. And Ernest--and, and so that's why if you notice, I do paint and sculptures because I would've been torn between painting and sculpture. So my--I do paint, paint and sculpture or I'm doing metal now. And the late John Howard was the one that got me involved in, in like--in like education. And I always would wonder about Mr. Howard. I'm like--I'll never--I'll never forget, I had a painting class--well, at that time, Mr. Howard--in 1980, Mr. Howard, he was--he, he had gotten old. Whenever you would ask him to come upstairs to look at your painting, he'll tell you he couldn't come up to look at your painting, but--so, you had to bring your painting down for him, him to see, all right. And I would do at a time. He said, you have a nice painting. But then, you see Mr. Howard in the hallway, he'd tell you, "Cole [HistoryMaker Kevin Cole], nice painting you got upstairs." I'm like, "How'd you get upstairs?" "'Cause you never bring it up." And I'll, I'll never forget taking a class with him, and taking a class with Mr. Howard, and in my painting class with him, Mr. Howard, he would beat me up. I had the best painting in the class, he would just beat me up, I mean, tear me up. So this girl named--her name was Dorothy Deportes [ph.]. Dorothy was doing these folk-type paintings. They were real stylized and, and Dorothy would get a A and I'd get a B. "Mr. Howard, but Dorothy can't paint, worth a shit," I would say--but, you know, I would--I would say to myself. So, then at the end of the semester, he said, "You know what? I knew what to say to you. I knew you would always rise to the occasion. You always rise. Even though Dorothy couldn't paint, I had to make Dorothy feel good, like she could." But in my mind, seventeen years old, Dorothy can't paint, okay. I understand what he was trying to do, but his whole thing was, you know, "At the end--at the end of the day, I always wanted to make sure that you would always--I wanted to know each one of my students--." Then--and then I asked, I said, "Mr. Howard, why is it everybody want, want to come to Arkansas Pine Bluff?" He said, "You know what, 'cause--because I know all my people. You gotta know all your students. You gotta know what they're capable of doing, what they're not capable of doing at the end of the day." So I--that philosophy stayed with me as, as I teach. I always trying to build--I'm always trying to build whoever I can up but then push whoever I can on the--on the side, say, "Okay, this is where you can be and this is what you can be."$$Okay. So you had some great mentors--$$Oh--$$--your first year of college. Now, this was in 1978 'cause you graduated from high school [Pine Bluff High School, Pine Bluff, Arkansas]--$$Yeah, in--$$--in--$$Yeah, I graduated in '78 [1978].$$--nineteen seventy-eight [1978], and you went straight to college.$$I went straight to college. I went to--and then--and then another mentor, like Henri, Henri, Henri Linton who's still the chairman of the department. And, and we've talked to--and we've talked--we've talked about me coming back and being chairman but I don't think I'm, I'm gonna do that. But he was the one--he's one of the ones that stayed with me until the end and, and made you work. It was just it. I mean, he'd tell you to work all day, work all night, always be--always be prepared, always be better. And I think with him and Tarrance Corbin, a lot of commissions I've got--you know, commission of Michael Jordan, commission for the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia]. See, I learned--I learned how to do murals when I--when I was seventeen years old. I was working as an apprentice for Tarrance Corbin and doing things, things for him, washing out paint brushes, blocking in shapes, so that was easy for me.$So, what happens--you, you were at Tri-City [Tri-Cities High School, East Point, Georgia] from--$$From 1990--$$Ninety [1990] to ninety-four [1994].$$--to '94 [1994]. Well, in 1994, and then I was represented by the, the, the McIntosh Gallery here, here in Atlanta [Georgia], which I always tell the story that she, she, she had some of the top African American artists in the country. She gave Romare Bearden his first show. She gave Benny Andrews his first one and gave John Scott [John T. Scott]. And I was represented by her. And when, when the--when The Coca-Cola Company [Atlanta, Georgia] became official sponsor of the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia], they kept asking, who's able to do large scale pieces of artwork? My name kept coming up. And another guy knew her from Coke, said, you know what? Her name is Louisa [Louisa McIntosh Edwards], Louisa, can we talk to this guy? They came over and they--and they talked to me about, about, about, you know, about they wanted to do. And they told me the artists they looked at. So, she and I talked. I said, well, you know what? I think that they are just interviewing me as a part of the process because--and, and, and because I'm black. So I went on, I started to do--I said, well, you know, I really wanna--I really wanna do something for the Olympics. And how you do a 15 story mural, you never touch the wall, they give you what you ask for, and I came in, I, I--my--I said, I, I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna do it on--I'm gonna do it on a--I'm gonna do it on like a vinyl, came in with my presentation. I said, gentleman, how many days you--well, you gotta look at it--now, if you want somebody to get this mural done by the time of the Olympics, how many days--I'm looking at how many days it rained from 1990 'til 1994, how many days it was over 40 degrees, how many days it was under 80 degrees, how many days it snowed, how many miles an hour that the wind is going one way. If a person is trying to paint this on a wall that--on a scaffold painting, they would never get it done. Let me--let me introduce you to a vinyl. The vinyl lasts, lasts between seven and ten years. It'll be--it'll be done in sections. I found a company, company that can install it in. I want this, I want this, I want this. I'm gonna use this, I'm gonna use this, I'm gonna use that. I also wanna hire five of my former students, part of the deal, and if you look in the--look in the lower right-hand corner, everything is copyrighted. I would love to hear from you soon. I got the project.$$Wow. And where does this mural hang?$$It was on the side of, of--it was on the side of a building called Carter Hall, which was the dormitory for Clark Atlanta University [Atlanta, Georgia] students, Georgia State [Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia] students. And it took two years, six months, seventeen days, fourteen hours, and thirty-two minutes. I kept a diary on it. It was--it was--it was one them--one of them--matter of fact, the--it, it was--it was 8200 square feet, bigger than the Sistine Chapel [Apostolic Palace, Vatican City] and which was--which was 7700 square feet, okay? It was one of the largest single-hand projects for any Olympics done, but it was done with the input of the community, whereas the idea was to, to paint the unsung heroes. Then, I used some of my former students. I brought in two artists from the community who I knew to just give them the experience of doing it.

Howardena Pindell

World renowned abstract artist Howardena Pindell was born on April 14, 1943, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pindell became interested in art at an early age when she began taking art classes on Saturdays; she started out as a figurative painter. Pindell received her B.F.A. degree in painting from Boston University's School of Fine and Applied Arts in 1965, and her M.F.A. degree from Yale University's School of Art and Architecture in 1967. Pindell was also awarded two honorary doctorates: one from the Massachusetts College of Art, and one from Parson School of Design in New York.

Pindell began her career in the art world as the first African American Associate Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at the New York Museum of Modern Art, a position she held for twelve years. Pindell rose from Curatorial Assistant to Associate Curator during her time at the New York Museum of Modern Art.. In 1979, Pindell began a new career as Associate Professor of Students at State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Pindell’s earliest drawings, composed of a patterned sequence of words and numbers on graph paper, suggest post minimalism as a major ingredient in her abstractions. In the 1970s, Pindell developed a collage technique using small circles hand punched from sheets of blank or printed paper. After numbering each one individually, she pasted them on sheets of punched and un-punched paper so that they floated on surfaces at once porous and solid. In the 1980s, she moved to photo-based collage, video, and relief paintings with intensely political subject matter. Pindell traveled extensively to Africa, Asia, Europe, Russia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, lived in Japan for seven months, and in India for four months. Pindell used these journeys and experiences as inspiration to integrate her own history as content for the autobiographies of her life. Between 1995 and 1999, Pindell taught at Yale University as a visiting professor; from 2003 to 2006, she served as Director of the MFA Program at Stony Brook University. Pindell also served as a full Professor of Art at Stony Brook University.

Pindell’s belief that the arts community should become more inclusive of women and minorities sparked a revolution in her work; she published groundbreaking studies that documented the lack of representation of artists of color through racism, censorship and violence.

Pindell works are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale Art Museum, New Haven, the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, and the Rhode Island School of Art Museum. Pindell also became an accomplished writer; a book of her writings, The Heart of the Question, was published in 1997. In 2000 Pindell received the IAM Pioneer award.

Accession Number

A2007.002

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/5/2007

Last Name

Pindell

Maker Category
Schools

Yale University

Boston University

Philadelphia High School for Girls

Jay Cook Junior High School

Pastorius Francis P Sch

The New School for Social Research

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Howardena

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

PIN04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Egypt

Favorite Quote

Are You Kidding? Oh, God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/14/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Southern Food

Short Description

Collage artist, art professor, and curator Howardena Pindell (1943 - ) began her career as the first African American Associate Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books at the New York Museum of Modern Art, and became a renowned abstract artist. Pindell also published groundbreaking studies that document the lack of representation of artists of color through racism, censorship, and violence.

Employment

New York Museum of Modern Art

Stony Brook University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1396,9:2170,17:2514,22:4406,56:9050,128:9996,145:15176,162:15842,190:19394,274:20060,290:20726,300:21688,317:22502,340:22872,346:24574,385:27386,453:41238,617:41967,628:42291,633:42858,642:51438,780:51734,785:54324,830:56692,881:59578,937:67200,1079:67792,1085:68088,1090:68384,1095:69864,1117:70530,1128:70900,1134:77780,1151:78360,1156:79085,1162:84240,1243:84720,1250:85360,1260:96588,1425:97931,1440:98247,1445:101881,1529:102197,1534:103619,1556:107885,1622:108438,1630:108754,1635:109939,1663:110966,1678:112625,1722:122694,1823:128001,1911:129393,1930:132525,1972:133917,1998:139419,2020:148380,2196:154644,2311:161239,2368:162457,2383:166111,2460:175184,2560:182648,2681:185585,2719:186030,2725:186386,2730:187543,2748:188433,2761:188878,2767:203658,2965:204246,2973:204666,2979:205338,2992:205674,3002:206682,3015:207438,3031:218196,3131:219175,3149:223180,3225:224960,3252:230661,3327:231016,3333:231371,3339:232010,3354:232507,3362:233075,3372:233572,3380:246020,3552$0,0:237,14:1264,42:3160,132:11613,247:15642,319:16195,328:18012,366:18407,373:21251,408:21725,415:22278,423:22673,429:22989,434:29120,442:30560,469:33448,500:33940,508:40418,625:41402,640:45338,704:52472,821:59630,871:66830,1013:71070,1077:71790,1088:74750,1142:75070,1147:77790,1183:78590,1195:80030,1218:86155,1251:86694,1258:87849,1288:88542,1299:90236,1328:91391,1351:94009,1385:95318,1407:95626,1412:95934,1417:111430,1626:111885,1634:114160,1691:114745,1703:116825,1744:117410,1752:119620,1782:120270,1794:120530,1799:125210,1881:125795,1897:126055,1902:126510,1911:136049,2052:140167,2130:146404,2210:148060,2242:151372,2307:163036,2536:163324,2541:176164,2663:195254,2839:196068,2858:196586,2867:196882,2872:199620,2957:202654,3049:210474,3117:210770,3122:213878,3182:214544,3192:215062,3201:215876,3213:216912,3231:217208,3236:218022,3249:218466,3256:221574,3319:222240,3366:223646,3398:225718,3432:226532,3445:227272,3459:227790,3468:237605,3556:239642,3576:240490,3582
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Howardena Pindell's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Howardena Pindell lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Howardena Pindell describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Howardena Pindell describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Howardena Pindell describes her father's childhood and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Howardena Pindell talks about her father's activism

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Howardena Pindell describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Howardena Pindell describes her parent's personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Howardena Pindell describes her paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Howardena Pindell describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Howardena Pindell talks about her mother's family members who passed as white

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Howardena Pindell describes her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Howardena Pindell describes her parent's marriage

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Howardena Pindell describes her mother's education and temperament

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Howardena Pindell talks about her mother's childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Howardena Pindell talks about being an only child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Howardena Pindell describes her earliest childhood memory

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

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Howardena Pindell recalls her neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Howardena Pindell recalls her experiences of racial discrimination in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Howardena Pindell recalls her experiences of racial discrimination while travelling

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Howardena Pindell describes her early education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Howardena Pindell describes her early talent for art

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Howardena Pindell describes her experiences in grade school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Howardena Pindell remembers her high school education in Philadelphia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Howardena Pindell describes her social life and pastimes as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Howardena Pindell recalls her difficulties at school in Philadelphia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Howardena Pindell recalls her art teachers at Philadelphia High School for Girls

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Howardena Pindell remembers her early interest in reading

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Howardena Pindell remembers her high school prom

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Howardena Pindell describes her lack of interest in sports as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Howardena Pindell recalls her parent's political involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Howardena Pindell recalls her decision to attend Boston University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Howardena Pindell describes her experience of racial discrimination at Boston University

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Howardena Pindell describes her early artwork

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Howardena Pindell recalls being hired by New York City's Museum of Modern Art

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Howardena Pindell recalls how the Vietnam War influenced her artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Howardena Pindell remembers the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Howardena Pindell recalls President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Howardena Pindell recalls protests against New York City's museums

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Howardena Pindell remembers being a black, female curator in late 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Howardena Pindell recalls the founding of Artists in Residence Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Howardena Pindell talks about discrimination in commercial art galleries

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Howardena Pindell talks about black artists' exclusion from galleries

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Howardena Pindell remembers her artistic breakthrough in the early 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Howardena Pindell explains the use of number in her art

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Howardena Pindell recalls her car accident

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Howardena Pindell remembers teaching at Stony Brook University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Howardena Pindell talks about making her artwork accessible to the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Howardena Pindell describes the subjects of her artwork, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Howardena Pindell describes the subjects of her artwork, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Howardena Pindell describes her 'Autobiography' painting series

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Howardena Pindell describes the influence of astronomy upon her work

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Howardena Pindell recalls publishing a study of discrimination in the art world

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Howardena Pindell talks about artist Kara Walker

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Howardena Pindell talks about other artists she admires

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Howardena Pindell talks about her travels

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Howardena Pindell describes her experiences in Japan

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Howardena Pindell talks about her travels in India and Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Howardena Pindell talks about the spiritual component of African American art

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Howardena Pindell talks about the representation of African Americans in art

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Howardena Pindell describes her plans for future artwork

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Howardena Pindell shares advice for aspiring artists

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Howardena Pindell reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Howardena Pindell reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Howardena Pindell describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Howardena Pindell shares a message for future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Howardena Pindell describes her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Howardena Pindell narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Howardena Pindell recalls her experiences of racial discrimination while travelling
Howardena Pindell describes the subjects of her artwork, pt. 1
Transcript
Now, was there a time when you were traveling with your family, something about root beer mugs?$$Oh, gosh, oh yeah. It was the reason why I use circles. Yes, my father [Howard Pindell] and mother [Mildred Lewis Pindell] and I would periodically drive to Ohio, and in fact, that was always difficult because the, the motels would not allow black people to stay there so we had to like really drive fast (laughter), or drive you know like all night. In fact at one point they took a cook stove and we would cook out in the woods 'cause you couldn't, so in segregation you couldn't even get food. My father and I, my mother was busy with her mother [Loula Lewis] and her sisters, I think maybe Entellena [Entellena Lewis] was there, her youngest sister, and my father and I drove into Kentucky and my father loved root beer so we stopped at a root beer stand, I mean my father was someone say if it says, "You can't go there," you'd go there anyway, and they served us root beer you know in chilled mugs, but at the bottom of the mug was a big red circle, and apparently in the South what they would do if they were willing to serve people of color, they would mark the silverware and the glassware, so what they had I mean, if you, it was a circle about the size of the base of this glass you know on a root beer mug. And I asked my father, you know, "What is that?" And he explained that if you're colored, you're African American, then they will mark your silverware, your glassware, dishware with a red circle. So I always tell people you know I was scared by a red circle, by a circle, and so I was obsessing about circles ever since, but I remember being just genuinely shocked, you know, that we would, you know, that anyone would get you know silverware. I can remember when we had driven south, I think we were going to visit some of my parents' friends in the Carolinas in Durham [North Carolina], going to a filling station and the rudeness of these sort of redneck guys that ran the station, the way they talked to my father calling him Howard, and you know because I had the credit card, and then you were like terrorized, you know you didn't want to go to the bathroom anywhere, because if--you know you either run into that kind of you know hillbilly kind of offensive behavior or it could be dangerous. So I can remember traveling with them and my father wearily going into a motel and being told it's no vacancy and then when you leave it says vacancy sign is on that they don't want anyone black. I would say, yeah those are my memories from the '40s [1940s] maybe early '50s [1950s].$$How did those, well how did it make you feel though as a child?$$Upset, insecure, angry, but I think that the thing that really brought it home was the white teacher, inappropriately being furious at a student who followed her directions (laughter) you know like what is this? So ever since then I just--it's also I think given me a kind of uncomfortable feeling about white women, that I've always found when I've dealt with, like in current times that are not as segregated or not, it's more subtle that I find there's always this and I even get the phrase from an Asian friend, she said when you're around white women, the white women act like, I'm white and I'm in charge here. This particular individual was an Asian woman artist who was talking about the women's movement and how if you get involved in a women's group, the white women always assume that they're the authority, they're in charge. So, I've run into that umpteen times.$Tell me about some of the pieces that you have done that--?$$Oh, the big ones?$$Yeah, the ones that you have to do the research for that you enjoy doing now?$$Well, I did a piece that was in my last show, it was called 'In My Lifetime' and what I have is like a strip of I think red at the bottom representing blood in terms of slavery and wars and stuff and then I have a section of water which somehow the Middle Passage comes back into my work, a lot I want to keep referring to that. Then above that is another strip of, of water but it's all done in camouflage patterns you would have on a military uniform and then on this field you have two screaming heads, my head at maybe '40s [1940s] and the other maybe in the '50s [1950s], so it's like it represents a passage of time and the top there is a strip of images from bomb tests in the Pacific [Pacific Ocean] as well as Nagasaki [Japan], I don't remember if I included Hiroshima [Japan], but I wanted to refer to in my lifetime these wars have happened, these holocausts have happened. And then I use a photo transfer process to show various atrocities. I had to do the research to even find the images. I mean some I got through the library which were the bombs, bomb images and then, and then I just used the photo realistic process to translate, then the image is like I have an Angolan child with no limbs, with no legs from when we were the ones that sponsored the, putting landmines in Angola, we have to have the largest amputation rate in the world. Then there are images from Iraq because I was really against the Iraq War from the beginning and then the embargo which starved, you know millions to death. I mean we're doing we're killing, you know it's all killing, so I look at image, well I found images of children in bomb shelters where we in Iraq, we had bombed and killed women and children, so I have images. It's a hard thing to look at, and then at the bottom of the painting, the painting is about the size of that wall, maybe twelve feet by about I think this one is about eight feet high, or seven feet, and then at the front of the painting I have like a tree stump, like you know like a tree surgeon would have given me. It's literally the from here to here and maybe about that big and round, and on it is a Bible, a large print Bible. At the top of the various pages are stamped with rubber stamps, different holocausts, including not only the Holocaust that the Jews went through, although I find so often the Jewish people see it as the, the only holocaust, but Rwanda and Angola, you know just so when you flip the Bible you have these different holocausts; mainly to express in, well there are two things: one is my usual struggle about God whether he exists or not, and culpability or responsibility (laughter). Okay, one thing is the Bible says throughout it that God will protect you, the meek will inherit the earth, and I'm saying like, "So where, where, when does this start?" You know, it hasn't happened and there's been all these wars and the other that there are various religions that say you know, you know, they claim to be good and yet they will foment wars, like what's happening with the Evangelical Christians seeing that pushing war, pushes what they feel is like the end times; you know it's terrifying that Bush [President George Walker Bush] would start a war in order to fulfill prophecy, or fulfill his friend's prophecy and also line his friends' pockets with you know, a lot of money--so you know just war profiteering. So it was all that sort of in one piece.

Willis Bing Davis

Cultural leader Willis “Bing” Davis was born on June 30, 1937, in Greer, South Carolina to Verona Hargro Davis Buffington and Levonia “Lee” Davis, a coal truck driver and gospel singer. Growing up on Dayton, Ohio’s, East Side, Davis attended Washington Elementary School. An All-City basketball player at six feet four inches tall, Davis graduated from Wilbur Wright High School in 1955. Assisted by coach Dean Dooley, Davis entered DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where his classmate was Vernon Jordan. Graduating in 1959, Davis taught art at Dayton’s Colonel White High School. He attended the Dayton Art Institute and earned his Master of Education degree from Oxford, Ohio’s, Miami University in 1967. Later, from 1975 to 1976, he pursued graduate studies at Indiana University.

Returning to DePauw University in 1970, Davis served as assistant dean of art and coordinator of Black Studies – as the only black faculty member. In 1973, Davis attended his first meeting of the National Conference of Artists (NCA) and made his first trip to Africa (Ghana). Davis was appointed assistant dean of the graduate school and associate professor of art at Miami University in 1976. That same year, Davis held his first one man show at the Studio Museum of Harlem. In 1978, Davis was invited to chair the Art Department and to become director of the new Paul Robeson Cultural and Performing Arts Center by Dr. Arthur E. Thomas of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Davis, who served on Central State University’s faculty for twenty years, also was a visiting scholar at the University of Dayton and an artist in residence at Wright State University.

Davis has an illustrious record as an artist and curator including exhibitions at the American Craft Museum, the Renwick Gallery, Maryland Institute College of Art and Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Anacotia Museum, National Museum of Art of Senegal, West Africa, United States Embassy Accra, Ghana, and Museum fur Angewandte Kunst in Frankfort, Germany. Davis was visiting artist-lecturer for Panafest 94 in Accra, Ghana. In 1997, Davis received the Ohio Art Educator of the Year Award. He received the 1999 Global Youth Peace and Tolerance Award and the 2001 Ohioan Pegasus Award. Davis is president of the board of directors of the National Conference of Artists. Davis also established EbonNia Gallery in the developing Wright/Dunbar neighborhood of Dayton’s West Side.

A hometown cultural hero, Davis has a grown daughter and lives in Dayton with his wife, Audrey.

Accession Number

A2006.044

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/20/2006

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bing

Organizations
Schools

Wilbur Wright High School

Washington Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Willis

Birth City, State, Country

Greer

HM ID

DAV17

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Accra, Ghana

Favorite Quote

Reach High And Reach Back. Always Walk With Dust On Your Shoes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

6/30/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dayton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Mixed media artist and art professor Willis Bing Davis (1937 - ) became the director of the Paul Robeson Cultural and Performing Arts Center in 1979. Davis is president of the board of directors of the National Conference of Artists, and also established the EbonNia Gallery in the developing Wright/Dunbar neighborhood of Dayton's west side.

Favorite Color

Rust Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Willis Bing Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis shares how his parents met and their personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis remembers the African American community in East Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis shares his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis remembers the works of art made by members of his family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis describes his mother's practice of shape note singing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis talks about playing basketball in his community

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis recalls the encouragement he received from his basketball coach, Dean Dooley, at Wilbur Wright High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis talks about developing his skills as an athlete and an artist

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes the athletic competition in East Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis recalls visiting and enrolling at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis describes his experience at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis recalls working with HistoryMaker Vernon Jordan at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis remembers his mentors at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis recalls the artists in his neighborhood and his introduction to African American art

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his athletic achievements at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis describes his experience playing basketball in the Amateur Athletic Union

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes his approach to playing basketball in the Amateur Athletic Union

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis talks about recording with his doo-wop group and becoming a teacher after college, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis talks about recording with his doo-wop group and becoming a teacher after college, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis recalls becoming director of the art program for the Living Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis lists some of the artists he brought to the Living Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis shares his philosophy on teaching art

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis recalls the demise of the Living Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio and accepting a position at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis describes his experience on the faculty of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes his first experience with the National Conference of Artists in 1973

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Willis Bing Davis remembers organizing his first trip to Africa in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis remembers his visit to Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis remembers his visit to Accra, Ghana in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis describes temporarily accepting a position at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1976

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis describes becoming an assistant dean and associate professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1976

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis recalls receiving his M.Ed. degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1967

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis describes becoming chair of the art department at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis shares his highlights of working at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis talks about the importance of continuing to practice and produce art

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Willis Bing Davis shares his philosophy of art

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis describes the influence of music and improvisation on his art

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis reflects on the concept of a Black Aesthetic

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis talks about William Komla Amoaku and the cultural life at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis describes working with Arthur E. Thomas at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis describes his impression of Arthur E. Thomas' character before he worked at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis describes the establishment of his EbonNia Gallery in Dayton, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis describes the establishment of his EbonNia Gallery in Dayton, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes his plans for the future of the EbonNia Gallery in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his leadership in the National Conference of Artists

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his experience with the National Endowment for the Arts

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his personal style

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community. Pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community. Pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis reflects upon his regrets

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis talks about the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$4

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Willis Bing Davis remembers his visit to Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal in 1973
Willis Bing Davis recalls becoming director of the art program for the Living Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio in 1967
Transcript
Now we're on our way to Africa (laughs). Now we got--let's, let's talk about the experience now. We talked about how it was done, now how--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah the experience, yeah the experience was one of the most meaningful things in my life. Matter of fact, going to Dakar, Senegal and having a chance to go, go, go to Goree Island [Ile de Goree] and, and sit in the slave castle and in the dungeons where our ancestors were held, was the most cleansing and inspiring experience I've ever had. To sit in that dungeon and feel the musk, and feel the residue of remains on, on my feet, under my feet. And just the cold darkness, it helped me to realize the evident, if not stark fear, the stark unknowing as to what's going to happen next. And not even able to imagine the voyage of the Middle Passage. And then stand in the doorway, what was the called "The Door of No Return," where the plank was placed onto the ship with the guns on the side to make sure you went. And to look across and know that I can't see land. If I could go straight, I'd probably go right to Atlanta [Georgia], or Geor-- South Carolina or Providence [Rhode Island]. It was, it was a, a, an experience that was cleansing too 'cause I wasn't make sounds, but tears were rolling down my cheek. And I never felt so close to Africa than when I was sitting in that room. And it just reaffirms my commitment and, and to not only serving and helping, but being the best I could be, but also to, to reaffirm the strength that I know we have as a people because I said, "I can't know which one of these doors of no return my ancestor came through. But somebody must have made it, or I would not be here. And to know what they've gone through for me to be standing, then I'm a strong person from strong people." And so it just gives me something I carry with me every place I go. I don't even have to talk about it now. I, I know I'm from greatness. Great architects, weavers, crafters, clay workers, builders of great sculptures and structures. So that trip for me just reaffirmed my whole existence to the point that I don't have to be boastful about it. But I now can walk and--down any street in any city in the world and hold my head high and have a sense of who I am. It, it was just phenomenal.$So, okay. So, so Colonel White [High School, now Thurgood Marshall High School in Dayton, Ohio], so you--now at this time had you--did you know anything about the NCA [National Conference of Artists] or anything like that?$$No, no, no. I didn't learn about that until I got back to, to DePauw [University in Greencastle, Indiana] to teach in '70 [1970]. When I came here in '59 [1959], what I would do if I saw in a magazine African American artists, I'd always cut it out and take it into school and, and use it for my own nurturing too. But I just got involved with teaching and I really enjoyed it. And, and fell into a wonderful art program that was very challenging. Students did very, very well. What I did do that was important for me, and actually changed my whole, whole life. When I talked about coming back from DePauw and having that western aesthetic background, the training of, of the western art. Wanted to be--know myself and wanted to be better prepared for my students who were coming from diverse areas. I started going to the library, researching Native American, Inuit up in Canada, Maya, Inca, Australian Aboriginal, and African art. And, and that sort of completed my education. I just started learning on my own and just studying and bringing that into the classroom. And as a result--and I started doing my own reading of African American art in every source I could find. And also African art. African art, I started to research and, and, and have that be a part of it. But, no yeah, that--I enjoyed that. I was only there six years, and that's when they started Living Arts in '67 [1967]. So I was there from '60 [1960] to '67 [1967]. Well in '66 [1966] is when the city [Dayton, Ohio] wrote that major proposal to get the million dollars from the U.S. Office of Education to start the Living Arts Program, which was an experimental program using art, music, dance, drama and humanities to develop human development. It really focused on adolescents' creativity using the art.$$So, so that started in 1967, the Living Arts Center.$$Nineteen sixty seven [1967], we wrote the proposal in '66 [1966], it was awarded and then Jack DeVilbiss, who'd also been a music professor at--instructor at, at Colonel White, took that job of writing that proposal for the city, and then being on the committee when we had sent it in and got funded, and six months later it was funded. He said, "Hey Bing, why don't you consider applying for the art directorship for this job?" 'Cause I was still at Colonel White and it was appealing enough to me that I, I took a gamble, 'cause I would lose my benefits and insurance, but it was a great opportunity. And so I, I resigned from Colonel White and I accepted the directorship of the art program for Living Arts in '67 [1967].

Elizabeth Catlett

Acclaimed printer maker and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett was born on April 15, 1915, in Washington, D.C. Growing up with grandparents who had been slaves, she was very aware of the injustices against black women. She attended Lucretia Mott Elementary School, Dunbar High School and then Howard University School of Art where she graduated cum laude in 1936. After she became the first student to earn an MFA degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa in 1940, she studied ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago and later in New York she studied lithography at the Art Students League.

In 1946, Catlett accepted an invitation to work in Mexico City’s Taller de Grafica Popular, a collective graphic arts and mural workshop. There she cultivated the theme for her work, the African American woman. In 1947, she produced her first major show “I am a Negro Woman,” a series of sculptures, prints, and paintings through a Julius Rosenwald Foundation fellowship, which toured black women’s colleges in the South. That same year she married Mexican painter Francisco Mora. A lively community of artists surrounded her and Mora, including Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo. From 1958 through 1976, she directed the sculpture department at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.

In 1993, Catlett received her first New York City exhibition since 1971 and in 1998 the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York honored her with a fifty year retrospective. Her paintings and sculptures were in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, in New York, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Catlett passed away on April 4, 2012 at age 96.

Accession Number

A2005.170

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/26/2005 |and| 7/27/2005

Last Name

Catlett

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Lucretia Mott Elementary School

University of Iowa

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Art Students League of New York

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Elizabeth

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

CAT02

Favorite Season

Fall, Winter

Sponsor

Dianne and Louis Carr

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cruises

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Mexico

Birth Date

4/15/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Mexico City

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Watermelon

Death Date

4/2/2012

Short Description

Printmaker, art professor, and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett (1915 - 2012 ) was an acclaimed visual artist known for her works that explore African American themes. She was especially well-known for her depictions of a mother and child motif, both in two and three dimensions. Catlett spent much of her life in Mexico, where she directed the sculpture department at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico for nearly twenty years.

Employment

Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas

George Washington Carver School

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Elizabeth Catlett

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Elizabeth Catlett's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Elizabeth Catlett talks about her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Elizabeth Catlett talks about her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Elizabeh Catlett remembers her ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Elizabeth Catlett recalls her childhood in Washington D.C. in the 1920s

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Elizabeth Catlett reminisces on summers in North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Elizabeth Catlett describes her extended family in Lincolnton, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Elizabeth Catlett shares childhood holiday memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Elizabeth Catlett remembers Lucretia Mott elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Elizabeth Catlett recalls the Washington D.C. neighborhood of her youth

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Elizabeth Catlett remembers role models from elementary and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Elizabeth Catlett explains her family's thriftiness

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Elizabeth Catlett details her transition into college

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Elizabeth Catlett recalls her high school involvement in swimming

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Elizabeth Catlett describes her early desire to pursue art

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Elizabeth Catlett recalls her uncle's troubled life

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Elizabeth Catlett reminisces about her brother's life and early death

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Elizabeth Catlett remembers her relationship with her brother

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Elizabeth Catlett comments on role models of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Elizabeth Catlett describes the great personality differences between her sister Sara and herself

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Elizabeth Catlett reflects on her sister's life

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Elizabeth Catlett describes life in Washington D.C. in the 1920s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Elizabeth Catlett discusses key memories from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Washington D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Elizabeth Catlett comments on her study of black history

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Elizabeth Catlett details her experiences as an undergraduate in Howard University's art department

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Elizabeth Catlett describes color-consiousness in Delta Sigma Theta sorority

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Elizabeth Catlett dispels myths of Lois Mailou Jones influence on her art

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Elizabeth Catlett describes campus life at Howard University on the cusp of WWII

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Elizabeth Catlett discusses her scholarly pursuits at Howard University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Elizabeth Catlett remembers studying under E. Franklin Frazier

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Elizabeth Catlett describes a menial job she held after college

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Elizabeth Catlett explains her involvement in protesting racial inequality in black teachers pay

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Elizabeth Catlett gives reasons she wanted to leave Durham, North Carolina, part I

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Elizabeth Catlett describes why she left Durham, North Carolina, part II

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Elizabeth Catlett details her successes as a teacher

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Elizabeth Catlett explains her decision to attend University of Iowa

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Elizabeth Catlett reminsces about graduate life at the University of Iowa

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Elizabeth Catlett remembers her artistic influences at University of Iowa

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Elizabeth Catlett discuses her battles against a racist administrator at the University of Iowa

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Elizabeth Catlett recalls her most influential teacher, Grant Wood

Marie Johnson-Calloway

Marie Johnson-Calloway was born Marie Edwards on April 10, 1920, in Pimlico, Maryland. Johnson-Calloway attended an all girls’ high school in Baltimore, Maryland, and received her teaching certificate from Coppin Teachers College in Baltimore in 1939. Receiving her B.A. degree from Morgan State University in 1952, Johnson-Calloway would later earn her M.F.A. degree from San Jose State University in California. In 1975, Johnson-Calloway received her doctoral equivalency degree from San Francisco State University.

During the early 1950s, Johnson-Calloway traveled around the United States with her first husband, U.S. Air Force doctor Arthur Johnson. While Johnson was stationed in Alaska, Johnson-Calloway held her first art exhibit. After Johnson-Calloway’s husband left the service, her family moved to San Jose, California, where she was hired as the first African American public school teacher in San Jose. Continuing to paint while running San Jose’s Mecca Art Gallery, Johnson-Calloway later became an art teacher for the Santa Clara School District. In 1969, Johnson-Calloway became an assistant professor at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and San Jose State University. From 1973 to 1983, Johnson-Calloway worked as an associate professor in the art department of the San Francisco State University.

Johnson-Calloway’s paintings, based on her memories of life in the South, have been exhibited throughout the United States and Japan. Some of Johnson-Calloway’s exhibits included Hope Street: Church Mothers, Mama’s Room, Passages, and Marie Johnson-Calloway On Stage: A Retrospective, 1950-1999. Many of Johnson-Calloway’s creations are part of permanent museum collections and private collections. A sought after presenter and lecturer, Johnson-Calloway received awards from the Women’s Caucus for the arts of Northern California, the San Francisco Library Foundation Award, the Pioneers of African American Art, and the National Women’s Caucus for the Arts.

Johnson-Calloway passed away on February 11, 2018 at age 97.

Accession Number

A2005.083

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/29/2005

Last Name

Johnson-Calloway

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Frederick Douglass High School

Coppin State University

Morgan State University

San Jose State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Marie

Birth City, State, Country

Pimlico

HM ID

JOH20

Favorite Season

March

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

You Don't Know Where You're Going Until You Know Where You've Been.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/10/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Apples

Death Date

2/11/2018

Short Description

Painter and art professor Marie Johnson-Calloway (1920 - 2018 ) was hired as the first African American public school teacher in San Jose. Calloway's paintings, based on her memories of life in the South, have been exhibited throughout the United States and Japan.

Employment

San Francisco State University

California College of Arts and Crafts

San Jose State University

San Jose Unified School District

Baltimore City Public Schools

War Production Board

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marie Johnson-Calloway's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marie Johnson-Calloway lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her mother's childhood in Manning, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her mother's educational work for the African American community in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes meeting her estranged paternal aunt

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her education in segregated Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about skipping grades in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her school years in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes influential teachers at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her childhood best friend

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about her parents' divorce

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about her father's funeral

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes attending Coppin Teachers College in Baltimore, Maryland and her early teaching career

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about her teaching and job with the War Production Board

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marie Johnson-Calloway remembers living in a trailer in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her art and creative writing classes at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her family's move to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1952

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marie Johnson-Calloway remembers starting to paint in Alaska

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about her life and artwork in Alaska

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes integrated living in Fairbanks, Alaska

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes moving to San Jose, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marie Johnson-Calloway recounts finding a teaching position in San Jose, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marie Johnson-Calloway remembers integrating her neighborhood in San Jose, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about adjusting to San Jose, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about her friendship with HistoryMaker Willy T. Ribbs' family

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about her graduate art studies at San Jose State College and Stanford University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marie Johnson-Calloway remembers organizing an NAACP chapter in San Jose, California

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about resistance to civil rights issues at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her curriculum on African American artists at San Jose State University in San Jose, California

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes African American professors at San Jose State University in San Jose, California

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marie Johnson-Calloway remembers her involvement with the Selma Civil Rights March, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marie Johnson-Calloway remembers her involvement with the Selma Civil Rights March, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her experience in the 3rd Selma Civil Rights March

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about her trip to Ghana

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marie Johnson-Calloway explains how she was hired to teach art at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marie Johnson-Calloway remembers participating in various art shows

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about the origins of her assemblage work

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about awards and publicity for her art

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her exhibit 'Hope Street'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marie Johnson-Calloway explains the evolution of her art from abstract to autobiographical

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marie Johnson-Calloway explains how she creates an assemblage

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her various artistic mediums and styles

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her friendship with jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marie Johnson-Calloway recounts her son's reunion with jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about the other artists in her family

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marie Johnson-Calloway reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marie Johnson-Calloway shares her values and message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marie Johnson-Calloway reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Marie Johnson-Calloway talks about her second husband, Charles Calloway

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Marie Johnson-Calloway narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Marie Johnson-Calloway narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Marie Johnson-Calloway narrates her photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Marie Johnson-Calloway remembers starting to paint in Alaska
Marie Johnson-Calloway describes her experience in the 3rd Selma Civil Rights March
Transcript
You couldn't go out in the wintertime beyond twenty minutes, and so your life was pretty much confined to the inside. And a lot of people got cabin fever. I mean they would really kind of crack up. And that's when I started painting. I had just finished Morgan [College; Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland] and had all this art training, and I started doing painting. I didn't have any paints, didn't have any canvases, but we took scrap wood and covered it with lead, white lead. Have, had I know the dangers of (laughter) lead--but we coated these boards with white lead paint, and that's what I painted. Some of the pictures you saw downstairs are the early paintings that I did by wiping off--I found out this what the masters used to do: they would paint like a glaze and then wipe it off and expose the white. So anyway, that's how I got started. And I had my first solo show there in the offices, office--what do you call that? You know. What do you call that, the main room where the offices ate and something? Anyway, that's where I had my first show, and then somebody saw it there. And the biggest hotel there in Fairbanks [Alaska] was the Northern [Lights] Hotel or something like that, and so they asked me to have a show there in the lobby. So that was my first exposure, was in Alaska, with, with the painting. So we--$$How--$$--we met Eskimos, and we, it was like a frontier living. It was quite interesting. And we, our kids would learn to ice skate on a pond out there, and our life was confined to the base. And my, my husband [Arthur Johnson] was flight surgeon, so he would fly to Nome [Alaska] and the very, the very remote places. But we had a, a, a really nice life there in the winter. And in the summer, you know, it was light all summer, so we were fascinated with the gardens and the big lettuce and stuff that grew up. And we met, we became friends with a, a survival expert consultant who was from London [England], and the [U.S.] military hired him in, living in, in frozen areas. So he exposed us to a lot of back country up there, and we went a lot of places that most of the people didn't go, 'cause he knew. That was interesting.$$Could you tell us, you, you had your first exhibit. Could you describe your art, your, what your early pieces were about or--$$Well, they were about--$$--and things.$$--Eskimos and life in the, in that frozen land. And I think most of the paintings that I did at that time were Eskimo paintings. I sold some of them, and I kept a few, some of them my children's.$But, so then came time for the walk, the Selma walk [Selma to Montgomery March]. And everybody couldn't do it because they said there would be too many people. So they just let some of us go five miles, and then the rest of them could go all the way. So I was in the group that could go five miles, and I did that walk--$$Oh--$$--five miles. But then--are you waiting?$$You can finish up--$$Okay. What I did find out was that they really were running out of food. And when I called San Jose [California] and told my sister [Anita Edwards Posey] that they were running out of food, she organized a food drive before I got back. And she and my daughter [April Johnson Watkins] and some of my friends collected food, and the collected so much food that she couldn't get it in her garage. They had to put it in a fire station. And they, the whole town of San Jose turned out for this food drive. And the mayor of San Jose at that time had a trucking company, because it was who's gonna, how are they gonna get the food down there? And he gave a truck. He lent one of his trucks and drivers to pick up the food from the fire station and take it to Selma [Alabama]. So that was another big event, this big truckload of food goes down there to Selma. In the meantime, I had made friends with several of these ladies who were all very poor because the stores, you know, they were boycotting all the, the stores. And they didn't have any food, and they didn't have any jobs, so I organized an, a, adopt a family. So there were sixty families in San Jose that sent food and clothing regularly for about a year--

Jon Onye Lockard

Painter, educator, and historian, Jon Onye Lockard, was born January 25, 1932, on Detroit’s east side; his mother, Lillian Jones, came from Port Arthur, Mississippi, and his father, Cecil E. Lockard, from Marianna, Arkansas. Lockard grew up around Franklin’s Settlement House with Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell, and Oscar Graves; he attended Norville and Smith Elementary Schools and Barbour Intermediate School. At age twelve, Lockard worked for the Overton Sign Company; he later won a job with Walker and Company, but was later rejected because of his race. Lockard graduated from Eastern High School in 1948; he then took classes at Meinzingers School of Art and worked for the Palmer Paint Company. Lockard graduated from Wayne State University in 1955 and pursued further study at the University of Toronto.

Working as a traveling portraitist in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Lockard painted portraits at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962. In Houston, Lockard met Texas Southern University’s John Biggers. In 1967, Lockard attended Jeff Donaldson’s CONFABA at Northwestern University and witnessed the founding of the AFRICOBRA group. During this period, Lockard added the name, “Onye” which is from “Onye Eje” or Ibo language for “artistic traveler.” In 1969, Lockard attended the National Conference of Artists (NCA) meeting in Chicago. As an illustrator, Lockard contributed to independent black publishing efforts. Lockard’s drawing of angry youth, entitled What are we going to tell them? (1967) appeared on the cover of I.P.E.’s Black Books Bulletin. Known for his rich use of color and powerful use of form, Lockard’s murals find a natural home on college campuses; his piece, Continuum, spans Wayne State University’s Manoogian Center, and his other murals are located at Central State University, the University of Michigan, and Detroit’s Dr. Charles Wright Museum of African American History. Lockard’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally for several decades. Robin Dunitz featured Lockard’s mural work in Walls of Pride.

Lockard taught life drawing, portrait painting, and the art and culture of African Americans for over forty years, gaining popularity as an instructor at the University of Michigan and at Washtenaw Community College. Lockard also served as president of the NCA, and associate director of The Society for the Study of African Culture and Aesthetics. Lockard co-produced and hosted Barden Cable’s Sankofa television program. Lockard and his wife, Leslie, raised three children.

Lockard passed away on March 25, 2015.

Accession Number

A2005.021

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/19/2005

Last Name

Lockard

Maker Category
Middle Name

Onye

Schools

Eastern High School

Norville Elementary School

Barbour Magnet Middle School

Martin Luther King Jr. Sr High School

Smith Elementary School

Wayne State University

Meinzinger School of Art

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jon

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

LOC03

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring, Summer

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

1/25/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Seafood

Death Date

3/25/2015

Short Description

Muralist, art professor, and painter Jon Onye Lockard (1932 - 2015 ) taught life drawing, portrait painting, and the art and culture of African Americans for over forty years at the University of Michigan and at Washtenaw Community College. Lockard's creative works include illustrations and murals.

Employment

Palmers Paint Products

Washtenaw Community College

University of Michigan

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jon Onye Lockard's Interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jon Onye Lockard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jon Onye Lockard describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jon Onye Lockard describes his mother's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jon Onye Lockard describes his maternal family's educational backgrounds and businesses

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about his mother's relocation to Detroit, Michigan and her education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jon Onye Lockard describes father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jon Onye Lockard speculates about why his paternal family left Marianna, Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jon Onye Lockard describes his maternal uncle, Robert Jones

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jon Onye Lockard describes his childhood household in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jon Onye Lockard describes the neighborhood where he grew up in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jon Onye Lockard describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Detroit, Michigan pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jon Onye Lockard describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Detroit, Michigan pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about his childhood friends and interests in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jon Onye Lockard lists the elementary schools and high schools he attended in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jon Onye Lockard recalls his first job at Ovelton Sign Company in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jon Onye Lockard describes African American sign painters' working conditions before the desegregation

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jon Onye Lockard shares what he learned from his first job at Ovelton Sign Company in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about winning an advertisement contest in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jon Onye Lockard remembers his interview for an internship with Walker & Company in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about his involvement in sports and clubs at Eastern High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about attending a prom at another high school due to the unofficial segregation at his own

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jon Onye Lockard recalls his high school guidance counselor discouraging him from applying to college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about attending Wayne University and Meinzinger Foundation Art School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about working at Palmer Paint Company in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about travelling at the beginning of his art career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jon Onye Lockard remembers muralist John T. Biggers

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jon Onye Lockard remembers HistoryMaker Bing Davis and the National Conference of Artists

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jon Onye Lockard recalls joining the National Conference of Artists at its 1969 conference in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about the National Conference of Artists' evolution from a social organization to a more politically-oriented one

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jon Onye Lockard recalls his trip with HistoryMaker Margaret Burroughs for the National Conference of Artists in Suriname

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about travelling to Suriname with the National Conference of Artists

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about his first print artwork, Black Messiah

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about the Detroit, Michigan riots inspiring his creation of 'What are We Going to Tell Them'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jon Onye Lockard explains the inspiration behind his painting, 'Ahm Gonna Raise This One Myself'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about his teaching in higher education

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jon Onye Lockard explains how perceptions of colors vary across cultures and how that impacts an African American aesthetic

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jon Onye Lockard remembers his experience at FESTAC in Lagos, Nigeria

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about his favorite murals that he created

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about his famous recreation of Aunt Jemima in 'No More'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jon Onye Lockard describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jon Onye Lockard reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jon Onye Lockard reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jon Onye Lockard talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jon Onye Lockard describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Jon Onye Lockard talks about the Detroit, Michigan riots inspiring his creation of 'What are We Going to Tell Them'
Jon Onye Lockard talks about his famous recreation of Aunt Jemima in 'No More'
Transcript
The boys, that was 1967, that was during the first couple of days of the Detroit [Michigan] riots. My studio was in Ann Arbor [Michigan] at the time and actually we were on the radio--on television (unclear) and I jumped in my car and I get back home 'cause my family was in Detroit. Well the second day I went down on 12th Street actually I went down there because I had done some murals in a couple of nightclubs down there and I wanted to see if they survived, they hadn't. Rubble everywhere, kids everywhere so I saw this group of kids but I didn't pay particular attention to them because I had my camera, I'm taking pictures. I looked around and those kids are standing almost within three feet of me looking at me. So I started talking to them and they asked me who are you taking pictures of and I told them, why are you taking pictures, I told them. They said do you live here and I said yeah and we had a conversion, we ended up having about a thirty minute conversation standing there. It's struck me very deeply. The name of that particular picture you're talking about is 'What Are You Going to Tell Them' because it just impacted my mind what are we going to tell these kids. What do we tell them, how do we tell them, how do we guide them, where do we guide them to and that motivated a lot of work that I have done. In fact I did another one of a young man--a teenager and I'm sure you saw that in prints also, he's got no shirt on and it's called '[A] Dream Deferred' and I use Langston Hughes' poem on it. "What happens to a dream deferred?" These young people--(simultaneous) (unclear).$$(Simultaneous) It's interesting 'cause I was thinking not to interrupt you or anything but 'What Are We Going to Tell Them' [sic.] is the art version of 'Dream Deferred.'$$No I've got 'A Dream Deferred.'$$I know you've got one but I think when people see 'What Are We Going to Tell Them' that's--it's the intensity of their countenance as they look at you from that canvas, I mean it really makes you, and it does (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) They're looking right at you.$$--yeah, it raises a question, what are you going to tell them. And if you don't have anything to tell them, what is going to happen.$Now I know that Murry DePillars has a famous Aunt Jemima and you've got a famous Aunt Jemima? How did this Aunt Jemima thing start?$$That's a social documentary. You know, Uncle Ben's Rice and these things were all out in the public and we had to take issue with it and these were the popular things that you could really take 'cause everybody had a feeling about it, everybody had seen it and everybody had accepted it and so we could take issue with those things. That's really how it happened and turned into far more that I ever dreamed it would turn into.$$Now what does your Aunt Jemima doing (simultaneous) (unclear).$$(Simultaneous) My Aunt Jemima has a big frown on her face, her head rag--bandana is red, black and green, her fist is coming through the box where you open the box it says open at your own risk. It's titled 'No More' 'cause I felt that degradation of an African American woman and particularly for all that she represented and how it had been used, how it had been used over a long period of time. It had nothing to do with Aunt Jemima 'cause Aunt Jemima initially was first made public--first came to the public at the [1893] Chicago World's Fair [World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Illinois] in the latter part of the nineteenth century.$$Eighteen ninety-three [1893].$$Right she was a very dignified looking woman and she introduced that product--she was hired to introduce that product but certainly not as a slave, certainly not as a mammy figure. All that came later after she had died. That all came during that terrible era of the early part of the 20th century when all that lynching was going on. That's when that became very popular. I also had an opportunity to do some work way back then for Colonel Sanders. I met him and I heard him talk, I listened to him talk about that recipe and it reminded me instantly of Aunt Jemima. All of that was in my head when I did that picture. How this slave who cooked this chicken like nobody else could cook that chicken and on her deathbed, she whisper the recipe to Colonel Harland Sanders which was a pinch of dis, d-i-s, a dash of dat, d-a-t and this image used to make me seethe. How this kind of thing could just manifest itself amongst our people. So that was my way of taking issue with it. I can't get on the street corners and fuss about it, I can't get on the soap box but I can paint a picture about it and I did. Murry painted his actually Murry painted his about two months before I painted mine.$$These are transformative pictures you have (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes they are, 'cause [HistoryMaker] Jeff [Donaldson] did one also. All of them are in Michael [D.] Harris's book 'Colored Pictures[: Race and Visual Representation'] which is beautiful that you could show that this is a movement thing.