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Henri Linton

Artist and curator Henri Linton was born on September 23, 1944 in Lewiston, Alabama to Christine McMullen Linton and Readus Linton. Linton’s family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1953, where he graduated from Druid High School in 1962. He received a four-year scholarship to attend Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, where he received his diploma in fine arts in 1966. Linton went on to earn his B.F.A. degree in painting from Boston University in 1968, and his M.F.A. degree in painting from the University of Cincinnati in 1974.

Linton worked as an art instructor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff from 1969 to 1974. In 1975, he was promoted to assistant professor of art; and then in 1980, he became an associate professor and chaired the university’s art department. In 1987, Linton became a tenured professor. From 1996 to 2000, Linton held solo exhibitions at the Arkansas Arts Center. In 2004, he became the curator and director of the newly founded University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Museum and Cultural Center. He curated a number of exhibits, including Daisy Bates: In Her Own Words, Clark Terry: His Life and Time, and Keeper of the Spirit History Project. He also curated exhibits for the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Linton retired from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 2014.

In 1966 and 1968, Linton won the top award for best figure portrait at the Atlanta University National Negro Art Show. In 1971, Linton received the best show award in the Arkansas Artist Competition, and was awarded the Keeper of the Spirit Award from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1998. Linton was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2001, and the UAPB/AM&N Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015. Linton served on the board of trustees of the Southeast Arkansas Arts & Science Center from 1990 to 1995, as founder and chairman of the Chancellor’s Benefits for the Arts from 1987 to 2014, and on the Arkansas History Commission from 2002 to 2007. Linton’s artwork is included in the collections of The Arkansas Arts Center, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Linton and his wife, Dr. Hazel McKinney Linton, have one son, Henri Linton, Jr.

Henri Linton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 16, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.049

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/16/2018

Last Name

Linton

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Druid High School

University of Alabama

32nd Avenue Elementary School

Columbus College of Art and Design

Boston University

University of Cincinnati

First Name

Henri

Birth City, State, Country

Lewiston

HM ID

LIN02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York

Favorite Quote

If I Can Help Somebody As I Pass This Way, Then My Life Have Not Been In Vain.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arkansas

Birth Date

9/23/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Pine Bluff

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Artist and curator Henri Linton (1944 - ) chaired the art department at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for over thirty years, and worked as the curator of the University Museum and Cultural Center.

Employment

University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff Museum and Cultural Center

University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff

University of Cincinnati

AM&N College

Favorite Color

Blue

Bettye J. Stull

Curator and arts educator Bettye J. Stull was born on June 13, 1931 in Wheeling, Virginia. After moving to Columbus, Ohio at the age of seventeen to live with her great-aunt, Stull became an administrative coordinator for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, where she worked for over thirty years. In 1971, Stull married ceramic artist Robert Stull, who became a faculty member with the art department at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1987, Stull retired from the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, and became a curator at the King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio where she worked to develop youth art education programs and helped launch the Elijah Pierce Gallery in the King Arts Complex. In 2004, Stull retired as curator from the King Art Complex, but continued as a consultant, where she curated “Columbus Collects,” “Roots and Legacies,” “Echoes of Our Ancestors,” which featured a number of rising and established black artists, and an exhibition called “African Art Tradition & Influence: Woodrow Nash Sculptor.” In 2008, Stull curated the “Color: Ten African American Artists and Sistahs” exhibition at the Ohio Craft Museum; and in 2010, she curated an exhibition called “Evolution of the Girl Child” at the McCoy Community Arts Center in New Albany, Ohio. Stull collaborated with a Cleveland based art group called “Creative Women of Color” to curate a 2012 exhibition called “SPEAK! Women Sharing Their Voices Through Art.” Stull was also an art advisor on the Long Street Bridge “Culture Wall” Committee in Columbus, which was completed in 2014, and consisted of a collection of photographs and block prints that detail the history of Columbus Near East Side.

In 2011, Stull won the Greater Columbus Arts Council Award for her work as an arts educator. In 2012, she received the Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Ohio Craft Museum. Stull also served on a number of boards and advisory committees including the Ohio Museum Association, the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center Advisory Committee, the Greater Columbus Art Council Artists in Schools advisory committee, and the Greater Columbus Art League.

Bettye J. Stull was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 17, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.205

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/17/2017

Last Name

Stull

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Bettye

Birth City, State, Country

Wheeling

HM ID

STU05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico and West Africa

Favorite Quote

Continue to do the work that needs to be done.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

6/12/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Calamari

Short Description

Curator and arts educator Bettye J. Stull (1931-) was an administrative coordinator for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department for over thirty years and worked as an arts curator the King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio.

Employment

King Arts Complex

Columbus Recreations and Parks

Broad Street Presbyterian Church

St. Mary of the Springs College

Favorite Color

Green

John Fleming

Museum director, curator and historian John Fleming was born on August 3, 1944 in Morganton, North Carolina. Fleming graduated from Olive Hill High School in 1962 and began attending Berea College that same year. In 1966, Fleming graduated from Berea College. He went on to attend Howard University and earned his Ph.D. degree in American history from there in 1974.

After graduating from Berea College, Fleming served as an educational specialist on the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in 1966. From 1967 until 1969, Fleming then served in the Peace Corps in Malawi. Upon his return from Malawi, Fleming served as an analyst on the United States Civil Rights Commission. He worked on the development of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1980 as project director, and then served as its director. In 1992, Fleming was appointed to the Underground Railroad Advisory Committee, and served as the Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s director from 1998 until 2001. Following his tenure as director, Fleming was appointed to the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Plan for Action Presidential Commission. The commission was responsible for the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Fleming founded JE Associates, LLC in 2007. In 2015, Fleming was hired as the museum director for the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tennessee.

Fleming has won multiple awards for his work. He won the Ohioana Library’s Citation Award in 1997, the Ohio Humanities Council’s Bjornson Award in 2007, the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Distinction in 2008, and the Zora Neale Hurston Award in 2008. Fleming has served on the board of the Columbus Area Leadership Program, on the nomination committee for the American Association for State and Local History, and on Ohio’s Bicentennial Commission. Fleming has also served on the program, executive, and honors committees for the American Association of Museums. In addition to his awards, Fleming has published three books, “The Lengthening Shadow of Slavery: Historical Justification for Affirmative Action for Blacks in High Education,” in 1976, “The Case for Affirmative Action for Blacks in Higher Education” in 1978, and “A Summer Remembered: A Memoir” in 2005.

Fleming and his wife, Barbara Fleming, have two children.

John Fleming was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.203

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/15/2017

Last Name

Fleming

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

University of California, Berkeley

Howard University

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Morganton

HM ID

FLE05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

The Beach

Favorite Quote

Don't Put Off To Tomorrow What You Can Do Today.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

8/3/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Southern Fried Chicken

Short Description

Museum director, curator and historian John Fleming (1944 - ) was the director of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. He also served on the Plan for Action Commission for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and as the museum director of the National African American Museum of Music.

Employment

Kentucky Civil Rights Museum

U.S. Peace Corps

Howard University

National Afro American Museum

Favorite Color

Black

Thelma Golden

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

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

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

Golden is married to London fashion designer Duro Olowu.

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

Accession Number

A2016.006

Sex

Female

Interview Date

08/09/2016

Last Name

Golden

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ann

Schools

Buckley Country Day School

New Lincoln School

Smith College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Thelma

Birth City, State, Country

St. Albans, Queens

HM ID

GOL04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Fantastic

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/22/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mangoes

Short Description

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

Employment

Studio Museum in Harlem

Whitney Museum of American Art - Phillip Morris Branch

Peter Norton and Eileen Harris Norton

Jamaica Arts Center

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$10

DAStory

1$7

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

Alvia Wardlaw

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

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

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

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

Wardlaw lives in Houston, Texas.

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

Accession Number

A2014.155

Sex

Female

Interview Date

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

Last Name

Wardlaw

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Schools

Jack Yates High School

Wellesley College

New York University

University of Texas at Austin

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alvia

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

WAR18

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any where near water, Tanzania

Favorite Quote

Peace, love and adventures every day.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

11/5/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ethiopian

Short Description

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

Employment

Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

Texas Southern University

Dallas Museum of Art

University Museum at Texas Southern University

Favorite Color

No, that changes from orange to blue

Nicole Smith

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

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

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

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

Nicole Smith passed away on March 29, 2016.

Accession Number

A2012.093

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/2/2012

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Ecole Anne-Marie Javouhey

Ecole Externat la Providence

Ecole Elie Dubois

Durham College of Commerce

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Nicole

HM ID

SMI24

Favorite Season

Early Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Shasta Springs, California

Favorite Quote

I Wish You A Victorious Day

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/8/1940

Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

Haiti

Favorite Food

Salad

Death Date

3/29/2016

Short Description

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

Employment

Centre d'Art

Nicole Gallery

Favorite Color

Purple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$11

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

Daniel Texidor Parker

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2009.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/16/2009

Last Name

Parker

Maker Category
Middle Name

Texidor

Organizations
Schools

John Farren Elementary School

DuSable High School

Chicago State University

Kennedy–King College

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Daniel

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PAR08

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/6/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

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

Employment

Thomas Chalmers Elementary School

Spry Upper Grade Center

Olive-Harvey College

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:4437,63:5133,72:6873,92:7743,126:8961,157:9309,162:10614,182:16992,243:17604,254:21030,281:21580,287:22020,292:22460,297:25680,307:25984,312:26288,317:28100,327:29817,349:32746,384:33251,390:35776,429:41696,473:43136,494:45056,523:45728,532:47264,553:50528,606:51296,619:59164,640:59584,646:59920,651:60256,656:61012,668:61348,673:61684,678:62020,683:68120,740:71146,774:71566,780:72910,803:74674,838:75346,854:76018,865:76354,870:82999,947:83363,952:83818,958:86457,995:86821,1000:90006,1050:90552,1057:92281,1082:93373,1097:103190,1160:105710,1199:106250,1206:110699,1224:114894,1258:117286,1287:119990,1332:126670,1385:129950,1464:136538,1510:137572,1524:137948,1529:142648,1677:143024,1683:143400,1688:144810,1700:151360,1714:151952,1719:167366,1916:168320,1926:169274,1936:170970,1955:171394,1960:180881,2044:181253,2049:181904,2063:182276,2068:182834,2076:184402,2088:185060,2096:185530,2102:197470,2158:198270,2170:198750,2177:200381,2187:206238,2239:206702,2244:207398,2251:209720,2262:210112,2267:211680,2297:214461,2324:215457,2338:216390,2345$180,0:1659,13:2181,20:2616,26:15010,86:21820,141:24562,159:29410,167:62785,421:63535,428:65160,435:66410,454:67910,468:84406,560:86020,565:87448,585:89284,605:89794,611:90610,621:96981,656:99335,680:99870,686:107540,751:109360,764:127364,914:146500,1091:156584,1172:158700,1199:159344,1207:164772,1309:165140,1314:165784,1323:170346,1338:171194,1345:177146,1406:177591,1412:181685,1492:186670,1526:188950,1549:190630,1569:191470,1577:196375,1665:203892,1717:204482,1723:209084,1790:215984,1823:216656,1833:219792,1890:222954,1910:223737,1920:231500,2135:233400,2246:261225,2525:272572,2608:272908,2614:280236,2682:281196,2693:281772,2796:282252,2802:282828,2815:284652,2843:285324,2851:289280,2862:290720,2875:291320,2881:292280,2897:294920,2926:300504,2960:312826,3098:327000,3248:332350,3286
DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$5

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

Patric McCoy

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2008.129

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/7/2008

Last Name

McCoy

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Englewood High School

Austin O. Sexton Elementary School

Fellrath Junior High School

University of Chicago

Governors State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Patric

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MCC11

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Stop Trying, Just Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/20/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruit, Fish

Short Description

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

Employment

Englewood Public Schools

City of Gary, Indiana

Environmental Protection Agency

Favorite Color

Orange

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

11$3

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

Paul Stewart

Curator Paul Wilbur Stewart was born on December 18, 1925 in Clinton, Iowa to Eugene Joseph Stewart and Martha L. Moor Stewart. His father was in the trucking business, and during the Great Depression, he owned a trucking company. Stewart’s family was one of the few Black families to live in a predominately white area at that time. After graduating from high school, Stewart joined the U.S. Navy and earned the rank of seaman first class. After he served in the Navy, he moved to Evanston, Illinois with his brother, Eugene. He took night classes at Roosevelt University while working as a mail sorter at the post office. However, he did not receive a degree from Roosevelt because he dropped out in order to assist his brother with his school expenses. Instead, he went on to get his barber’s license from Moler Barber College in 1947. After that, he spent more than a decade working as a barber in Illinois, Wisconsin and New York.

In the early 1960s, Stewart’s interest in the involvement of Blacks in the West peaked after visiting a relative in Denver. Stewart made a commitment to exposing the world to the prominence of Black cowboys in the American West. In 1971, Stewart started a collection in an old Denver saloon. His collection consisted of more than 35,000 items, including personal artifacts, photographs, clothing, paintings, letters, legal documents, newspapers, and oral histories. However, with the onset of the downtown urban renewal, he was forced to find another location. He housed the “Paul Stewart Collection” in Denver's Clayton College for almost ten years. During the time it was at the college, it had become incorporated and had a board of directors.

The museum’s prominence grew, so once again, the location needed to be adjusted. In the mid-1980s, Stewart packed up his museum and moved it to a larger, more convenient location in Denver's Five Points historical district, a predominantly Black neighborhood in downtown Denver. During the growth of his museum, in 1986, Stewart married gospel artist Johnnie Mae Davis.

In the early 1990s, the collection was moved to another location in Five Points. Today, the museum is open five days a week. More than 5,000 visitors come to the museum every year. The Black American West Museum and Heritage Center also offers educational activities and programs, tours and other special events. Over the years, Stewart also served as a member of the Historical Records Advisory Board for Colorado and has taught at Metropolitan State College in Denver.

Stewart was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 6, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.127

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/6/2008

Last Name

Stewart

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Clinton High School

Moler Barber College

First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Clinton

HM ID

STE13

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Iowa

Favorite Vacation Destination

Honolulu, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Age Is Just A Number And It Is Just A Matter Of Time. If You Don't Mind, It Doesn't Matter.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

12/18/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spinach, Cornbread

Death Date

11/12/2015

Short Description

Curator Paul Stewart (1925 - 2015 ) created a collection of 35,000 artifacts related to black cowboys of the American West, which became the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in the Five Points district of Denver, Colorado.

Employment

Black American West Museum and Heritage Center

Self Employed

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1079,47:5146,110:12284,291:13197,308:22103,403:33559,603:34004,609:48778,925:57362,1019:59294,1062:63250,1157:70518,1284:72726,1319:73186,1325:107200,1796:110400,1993:132628,2195:134330,2244:135810,2268:136106,2273:136550,2281:137438,2304:139140,2329:139584,2336:140102,2344:140546,2351:141064,2360:141582,2369:150303,2424:152400,2444$0,0:1564,51:8760,182:13718,247:19380,293:21850,319:36004,492:40104,585:41006,597:74310,1029:74766,1036:83658,1259:86166,1325:94410,1416:94835,1422:99510,1502:100275,1514:103080,1554:103505,1560:117988,1724:118478,1730:130658,1833:131432,1845:134958,1922:135560,1929:152594,2167:160750,2235:161345,2244:162365,2258:163640,2279:166445,2325:177920,2535:178515,2543:185250,2576:186100,2590:187545,2623:189925,2663:194175,2741:201670,2804:212790,3013:217640,3030
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul Stewart's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart describes his father's career, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart describes his father's career, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart talks about how his paternal grandparents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart talks about his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart remembers his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul Stewart describes his paternal great-grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paul Stewart remembers his cousin, Grant Dozier

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart talks about his paternal great-grandmother's first husband

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart remembers his cousin, Duke Slater

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart talks about his cousin, Roland Hayes

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart remembers his cousin, Earl Mann

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart remembers childhood playmates

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart describes his siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart remembers his daily activities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart describes his social life

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart talks about his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart remembers his decision to pursue his education

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart remembers his father's side businesses, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart remembers his father's side business, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart talks about his early religious experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart remembers lessons from his father about business

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart describes his early career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart remembers being drafted into the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart remembers his introduction to southern segregation

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart recalls his deployment to the Marshall Islands

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart recalls U.S. Navy riots in Hawaii

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart remembers moving to Illinois and New York

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart remembers the Hampton Naval Glee Club

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart recalls the end of World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart recalls a robbery attempt in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paul Stewart remembers working in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart recalls the nightlife in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart remembers performing as a trumpeter in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart talks about his barbershops in Illinois and Wisconsin

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart recalls his decision to move to Denver, Colorado

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart describes the Owl Club of Denver

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart remembers meeting an African American cowboy for the first time

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart lists the venues that displayed his black cowboy archive

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart recalls the original location of the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart describes the history of Dr. Justina Ford

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart talks about Walter Jackson's buffalo coat

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart talks about the Younger family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart shares the legends of Mary Fields

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart describes the exhibits at the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart talks about the collection at the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Paul Stewart describes the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart talks about Madame C.J. Walker

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Paul Stewart talks about the African American figures from the history of Denver, Colorado

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Paul Stewart describes his family

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Paul Stewart talks about the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Paul Stewart reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Paul Stewart describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Paul Stewart shares a message to future generations

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Paul Stewart talks about Clara Brown

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Paul Stewart describes Barney Ford and John Keganell

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Paul Stewart narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$1

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
Paul Stewart remembers meeting an African American cowboy for the first time
Paul Stewart describes his father's career, pt. 2
Transcript
So, when do you notice your first cowboy, your first black cowboy (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, well, that was, when I, when I was looking around the town then, and I look at one end, then it took, and we went over to this other end and I--we turned this corner, and I saw this tall black man with a cowboy hat on, his boots, and he had his chaps, and spurs. See, you can wear guns on your, on your hip as long as you didn't have any bullets in the cylinders, see. And I had looked and then I said, said to him, "Look at that drugstore cowboy over there. Who's he trying to fool? There's no black cowboys." And Earl [Earl Mann] was eighty--he, he was about eighty-one years old at that time. And he turned around really slow and he looked and he said, "Well, yes Paul [HistoryMaker Paul Stewart], he's a cowboy. In fact, he has a ranch outside of Denver [Colorado], has horses, and cattle, used to ride on the trails in the early days, been around Denver for years." Boy, when I looked at that, I mean, that really turned me around boy, and from that time on. After I came out here and then I bought a barbershop. And then, it was a mixed shop, you know, it was Spanish, whites, African Americans, Indians [Native Americans] and all. And so, I'm trying to find out about cowboys. So, I'd ask these, these guys and similar, and the old men that would come in says, "Yeah, my dad used to mine up here in Cripple Creek [Colorado]. Yeah, back in 1890." "What?" you know. "My dad had a ranch out here, or down in, outside of Pueblo [Colorado]." I said, "You got any pictures?" And he said, "Yeah, I'll bring some back when I come." And that's the kind of shop I had. I had pictures on the wall, you know, of miners. I had pictures of cowboys, ranchers, bull riders. I had musicians. I had a rack in the back there with records from the, from the blues on up. Uh-oh, that's my (background noise).$$(TAPE INTERRUPTION)$$Yeah, and so, yes, and in the--and (unclear) and these men would come in and some of their fathers had been, had ranches and then they had, and some had lived, lived in the south but they moved up here and then they worked on ranches, you know, up in Wyoming and such. And to find that out and then having pictures to show this type of thing. And then so it became a focal point and people started coming from all walks of life, you know, they come in and, and they would share information with me.$About your father's [Eugene Stewart, Sr.] trucking business. How did he get the funds to start his, his trucking business? Do you know that?$$Very interesting. Well, see, like he started out hauling in a minimal, and then he'd get, and then he would, he'd hire white drivers in the, in the section and he had trucks here, there, you know, each one. And as he kept going along and acquiring, he got his first semi. And then, he got the next one. Jess Gregory, a white man, was our first driver, and I remember very well, sometime I'd go on the routes with 'em some if he go up to Michigan or Wisconsin or up into--down in St. Louis [Missouri] where Anheuser-Busch [Anheuser-Busch Companies] was. I'm talking about going--in fact, I can take off from school sometime. They'd let me go. And when I came back I would had to make a report of what I saw and what I, and what transpired which was very educational for me, you know. And so, as my father kept accumulating these trucks then I remember right back of his, of the office building [Stewart Transfer Company, Clinton, Iowa], it, it was a block long behind there. So, he had his trucks in the, in this area. He'd store them for a while and then he had to rent other places, you know. And I was discussing with my brother [Eugene Stewart, Jr.] there, this, the question with you, how was he even able to amount having twelve semi's traveling around in these areas and, you know, we, we even went with him sometime, you know, to, to these places, and just how he was able to accumulate in a small town like Clinton, Iowa, what he had. There was, he had, he'd gotten into the position where Keeshin [Keeshin Freight Lines, Inc.], they had fifteen semi's. They would take it--his produce or whatever his, his merchandise was--from one across the state line into another state, like that. And, and then Allied [Allied Van Lines, Inc.], Allied is all over the United States. They wanted to put him in, too, but they want him, more of a minimal role, which he didn't wanna do so he never got in with it. But, he was actually crowded out. That's what happened. Because after a while they have what they call interstate commerce, and you have to bid on routes. And what, what was happening was that every time he'd make the bid, they find out, they would bid a dollar over what he had bid. And that's how they squeezed him out, see, but just to realize it. So, I got from him the business sort of, of trying to, to do what I'm doing, you know. And it was very helpful because basically, we had a little candy store in this office, and we'd go out and sell candy. And that taught us to sell at a loss 'til we learned how to, to do. And then, you know, then he had a little place, a place of business for us. And we operated like after school and had a little, had a jukebox in the back. And so, the young people would come in dancing and they buy candy, drink pop. And we operated that. And we knew it was at a loss but we learned how to do business.$$I see.

Deborah Willis

Curator, photographer and photographer professor Deborah Willis was born on February 5, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Ruth and Thomas Willis. The family traditions of photography and quilting would later inspire her career and artistic point of view. Even as a child, she noticed the scarcity of images of blacks in the media. She received her B.A. degree at Temple University in 1972, her B.F.A. degree at the Philadelphia College of Art in 1975, and her M.F.A. degree from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute in 1980. While working towards her degrees, Willis worked part-time with a variety of arts centers and nonprofits. Her work helped cement her interest in arts education.

After receiving her M.F.A. degree, Willis became the exhibitions coordinator and curator of Photographs and Prints at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. For the next twelve years, she worked at the Schomburg Center, supervising a collection that includes portraits of famous African Americans, scenes from black history and the work of notable African American photographers. She organized exhibitions of work by James VanDerZee, Doris Ullman, Anthony Barboza, and many others. While working at the Schomburg Center, Willis also published her first book, "Black Photographers, 1840-1940: An Illustrated Bio-bibliography" and began exhibiting her own photographs. She has since exhibited all over the country, most notably at the Smithsonian, the Steinbaum Krauss Gallery and the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery. In 1992, Willis moved to Washington, D.C. and became exhibitions curator at the Smithsonian’s Center for African American History and Culture. Working at the Smithsonian for the next eight years, Willis was widely respected as a scholar, curator and artist. During her time at the Smithsonian and the years since then, she has published several more books, including The Black Female Body: A Photographic History (with Carla Williams), Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840-Present, and biographical works on Lorna Simpson, J.P. Ball and James VanDerZee.

Deborah Willis has received several prestigious awards, including the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Writing in Photography and alumni awards from both the Pratt Institute and the Philadelphia University of the Arts. In 2000, she was the recipient of the esteemed MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship which recognizes highly potential, creative individuals who contribute to society and culture. Soon thereafter, she moved back to New York and joined the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts as a professor of photography and imaging and eventually became the chair of the department. In 2003, Willis earned her Ph.D. degree in cultural studies at George Mason University. Throughout her career, Willis has authored many books and articles and organized or contributed to countless exhibitions exploring the role of African Americans both in front and behind the lens.

Deborah Willis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 27, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.190

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/27/2007

Last Name

Willis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Organizations
Schools

Temple University

University of the Arts

Pratt Institute

City College of New York

George Mason University

Roosevelt Middle School

West Philadelphia High School

Rudolph S. Walton School

Peirce College

Germain School of Photography

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Deborah

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

WIL40

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

James Lowry of The Boston Consulting Group

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Hey, Girl.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/5/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Photographer, curator, and photography professor Deborah Willis (1948 - ) was a former exhibitions curator at the Smithsonian’s Center for African American History and Culture as well as the recipient of the 2000 MacArthur Fellowship.

Employment

New York University, Tisch School of Arts

Shapiro's Shoes

Temple University

Volunteers in Service to America

Neighborhood Youth Corps

Brooklyn Museum

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Duke University

Harvard University

New York University

Center for African American History and Culture

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black, White

Timing Pairs
0,0:242,7:1586,22:19326,424:19854,435:31470,738:37820,747:45474,935:45904,941:47280,960:48054,973:49086,993:50892,1023:55536,1100:63518,1218:64526,1233:65282,1244:66206,1259:67550,1278:70322,1305:70826,1312:73598,1374:76958,1454:79310,1498:79730,1504:80150,1529:82418,1562:84434,1623:84854,1629:97648,1783:98016,1788:98752,1799:99396,1810:101512,1881:114671,2004:115715,2025:116150,2031:116846,2043:119195,2083:119717,2091:120587,2105:121892,2123:122501,2131:123806,2152:124241,2158:132854,2429:145986,2622:149676,2689:150906,2712:151234,2717:152546,2738:152874,2743:154350,2769:154924,2777:178756,3017:179221,3023:179965,3033:183120,3060:183729,3069:185034,3092:186078,3106:191733,3186:192168,3192:195474,3256:211790,3474:220794,3624:221482,3637:226298,3736:228276,3766:230168,3788:231028,3801:231458,3807:242630,3903$0,0:9814,80:10399,86:27785,518:28635,528:30760,603:31100,608:31780,619:34500,699:35265,729:36710,763:40195,827:51600,905:52104,913:55920,1004:60312,1099:60960,1109:61968,1243:63696,1268:66216,1313:66720,1320:67296,1329:69240,1372:73114,1391:73816,1400:74440,1408:75064,1417:75844,1429:85250,1602:88290,1724:92850,1793:103965,1982:112560,2072:114345,2141:116555,2175:118680,2227:119445,2239:119870,2245:127265,2357:127860,2365:134575,2489:135680,2528:147562,2673:148199,2681:159392,2868:163214,2919:164670,2937:165125,2944:165944,2955:171834,2974:172222,2979:173483,2992:175423,3015:179400,3061:179788,3066:180176,3071:183862,3125:184250,3130:190621,3189:195352,3290:200166,3384:207590,3461:207946,3466:208569,3481:209726,3494:210349,3505:210794,3511:223530,3635:224685,3651:225609,3666:227688,3764:228150,3771:232077,3838:232462,3844:238391,3938:245660,3982:247310,3989:247685,3998:251285,4076:251735,4083:252410,4094:253235,4107:253685,4115:253985,4120:255110,4135:265546,4241:267212,4272:268094,4282:271622,4342:272700,4355:278860,4486:279352,4493:284272,4648:285256,4663:289110,4724:290012,4736:291324,4755:294970,4763
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Deborah Willis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Deborah Willis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Deborah Willis describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Deborah Willis describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Deborah Willis describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Deborah Willis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Deborah Willis describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Deborah Willis remembers her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Deborah Willis describes her parents' businesses

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Deborah Willis remembers the holidays

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Deborah Willis recalls going to the movies

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Deborah Willis recalls her upbringing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Deborah Willis describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Deborah Willis remembers her early interest in history

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Deborah Willis describes her schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Deborah Willis remembers her early work experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Deborah Willis describes her early interest in photography

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Deborah Willis describes her aspirations upon graduating high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Deborah Willis describes her work with Volunteers in Service to America

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Deborah Willis describes her decision to pursue photography

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Deborah Willis describes her early career in photography

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Deborah Willis remembers the Philadelphia College of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Deborah Willis remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Deborah Willis recalls her decision to attend the Pratt Institute in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Deborah Willis describes her work at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Deborah Willis describes her role at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Deborah Willis talks about her first book

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Deborah Willis describes her curatorial work, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Deborah Willis describes her curatorial work, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Deborah Willis describes her photographic work

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Deborah Willis talks about her photographic quilts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Deborah Willis describes her role at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Deborah Willis talks about her book, 'Reflections in Black'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Deborah Willis remembers the death of her nephew

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Deborah Willis describes her exhibition, 'Reflections in Black'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Deborah Willis remembers her MacArthur Fellowship

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Deborah Willis recalls her diagnosis with breast cancer

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Deborah Willis remembers teaching during her chemotherapy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Deborah Willis describes the courses she taught at Harvard University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Deborah Willis talks about her exhibition, 'Let Your Motto Be Resistance'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Deborah Willis describes her photographs of the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Deborah Willis talks about her photographs of shotgun houses

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Deborah Willis reflects upon her career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Deborah Willis narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Deborah Willis narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Deborah Willis describes her curatorial work, pt. 1
Deborah Willis describes her role at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
You've published your first two books--the groundbreaking bio-bibliographies of photographers that, I think, will be useful forever. Can you tell me a little bit about the shows that you're curating, and where you're curating them, and why you aren't including your own photography?$$Well, the shows--I started curating shows at the Schomburg Center [Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York], and then I was invited by [HistoryMaker] Mary Schmidt Campbell--she was then director of the Studio Museum in Harlem [New York, New York]; she's now the dean of the Tisch School of the Arts [Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York, New York]. But, I started--she asked if I was interested in different shows or different curating shows, and so I curated a show ['Harlem Heyday: The Photography of James Van Der Zee'] for her on Van- on, on James Van Der Zee, the works of James Van Der Zee and, and other photographers. But also, at the time, I was--at the time that I was interested in documenting Harlem [New York, New York] photographers, there were two--there were twin brother photographers, Morgan and Marvin Smith [Morgan Smith and Marvin Smith]; I met them in the paper, in looking at old magazines, that they were photographers, and then one day in 1981, they walked into the Schomburg Center, and I'm like, these are these guys that I'm seeing in the news in the '70s [1970s] and the '60s [1960s] when I was researching in the '70s [1970s]. But I knew their faces because they were, because they were twin brothers, that they, they were, they were beautiful men, and they were often photographed for ads. So, they walked in and I said, "You know, I've been looking for you all my life," (laughter) and they, and they--we kind of adopted each other, you know, as a family, really supportive of my work, and so I started including their work in shows. And then Moneta Sleet, Jr., who was an Ebony photographer, another person I just, just--I just fell in love with his work, cared about what he was doing, and had a chance to meet him and spent a lifetime, the rest of his life, working with him. And all of these older guys--Bert Andrews, who was a theater photographer, he, he had--he did a book called 'In the Shadow of the Great White Way' ['In the Shadow of the Great White Way: Images from the Black Theatre,' Bert Andrews], and his was about black theater--his photographs were about black theater, curated a show about his work ['Scenes from the 20th Century Stage: Black Theatre in Photographs']. So--and then I decided to kind of look at--my mission was to, you know, capture all of these guys and--who all adopted me, you know as, as either, you know, like this person is gonna just care about their work and keep working with them, and I continued--we'd often meet on dinner, lunch, breakfast; and then I met Ellis Haizlip, and Ellis Haizlip had a TV show called 'Soul!'. I remembered meeting Ellis and just said, "You're the person who introduced me to all of these people on television." So then Ellis became a mentor. So I had these great mentors that helped shape my visual interest and to encourage me to keep pushing to get these projects done, which I didn't get any grants; I didn't have any major grants for any of the projects that I worked on. I--there was one photographer that--I was really interested in doing a book, it was called J.P.--his name was J- James Presley Ball, and he was a daguerreotypist, working in the 1840s, died in 1905 [sic.] in, in Hawaii; he started in Cincinnati [Ohio] and so he traveled out west.$$Can I get you just to say that word again?$$James Presley Ball; he was a daguerreotypist.$$And what's a daguerreotype?$$It was one--it was the first photography; it was the first visual image in terms of the first photograph, but it was on a plate, and James Presley Ball was one of the early daguerreotypists.$Let's go back to sort of a timeline approach. So, you're curating shows and you start focusing on more contemporary photographers--$$Um-hm.$$And then what do you--do, do you get that grant that you applied to for the New York Library [New York Public Library, New York, New York]?$$For the J.P. Ball [James Presley Ball] book--$$Got it (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) So I, I, I received the grant for the J.P. Ball book ['J.P. Ball, Daguerrean and Studio Photographer,' Deborah Willis], and then in '92 [1992], I was offered a position at the Smithsonian [Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.] to help develop an African American museum on the Mall [National Mall, Washington, D.C.]. Claudine Brown [Claudine K. Brown] was working at the Smithsonian at the time; I had met Claudine years ago when she was at the Brooklyn Museum [New York, New York], and she asked if I would--if I was interested in working with her and helping to develop an African American museum on the Mall.$$But was there any African American museum in the Smithsonian system?$$There--the only--there was one, it was the Anacostia Museum [Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture; Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, D.C.], it was a neighborhood museum; and what Claudine and others wanted to do was to have a national African American museum that would collect nationally, and to focus on African American history and culture. I--at the same time, on my other side, a lot of my artist friends would say, "Deb [HistoryMaker Deborah Willis], you need to start showing your work, start getting your work out there; I'm gonna--," (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) It's been ten, fifteen years.$$"I'm gonna submit your work to a show." So then--the National Black Arts Festival is really popular in, in, in supporting artists and showing art work, and so I had a show at, at the '92 [1992] National's- National Black Arts Festival, and I showed a lot of the quilts, and it was Young Hughley--he had a gallery there [Young Hughley Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia], and Jane Jackson Gallery [Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia]; so I showed my work at two galleries during this time, and so a lot of people had a chance to see my work on the other side, you know; not just the books, but now here's Deb's visual images are coming out. So, I started continuing working with my, my work as an artist. A lot of the work was sold at--there, so it was really encouraging. And, and then I moved to Washington [D.C.]. I--you know, it was really hard to leave Schomburg [Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York, New York] and leave New York [New York] and--but I had another opportunity, and it just happened that way, and--$$Where did you move to?$$I moved to Washington to Southwest [Washington, D.C.], to the area near the water on G Street; is 277 G Street, Southwest. It was a great experience to, to have a different kind of local, walking to work and having to help develop a, a museum. And so--at the time, it was--Claudine hired--she hired me to work with collections, and another young woman, Jane Lusaka, to work with the publishing aspect of it. So, it just--worked as a small group, we--it was--we were very cautious, we shared a desk (laughter), we--you know, we worked together, and I traveled around the country looking at collections, and a lot of--a number of people believed in this idea of having an African American museum. We didn't pass through [U.S.] Congress one year, then Jesse Helms held it up another year, but we continued to work. And as a way to create a visibility, I worked with Claudine in, in developing a, a gallery in the Arts and Industry Building [Arts and Industries Building, Washington, D.C.] at the Smithsonian to create exhibitions, and one of the exhibitions that I created, one of the first exhibition was--it call--it was called--entitled 'Imagining Families: Images and Voices.' So, that was a way, I felt, with involve--bring people into the museum, into a museum space, and understanding how to collect--how to collect family images and what artists will do with family images, what we can do in terms of preserving the history. So it was a, a story about that, and so then I curated other shows for them, and just continued working at--another show was called 'Harlem and D.C. in the Thirties and Forties' ['Visual Journal: Harlem and D.C. in the Thirties and Forties'] and looking at [HistoryMaker] Gordon Parks and Morgan and Marvin Smith [Morgan Smith and Marvin Smith], and then a D.C. photographer, Robert MacNeil and the Scurlock Studios [sic. Scurlock Studio, Washington, D.C.]. So, looking at how important photography, photography studios were for, for two significant communities in, in America.