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Ron Adams

Printmaker Ron Adams is a former commercial printmaker and current independent artist who has taught at several universities and collaborated with artists such as John Biggers and Judy Chicago. He was born on June 25, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan to Laura and William Adams. Adams took classes at numerous art schools throughout the late 1950s and the 1960s, including Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Manual Arts Adult Night School, Los Angeles City College, UCLA and the University of Mexico. These classes gave him a broad base of experience in technical skills such as drafting, technical illustration, lithography, and engraving, as well as the more standard drawing and painting. He received a certificate of trade proficiency from Otis College of Art and Design in 1963.

Adams used his technical expertise to become a successful commercial printer. In 1968, while studying at the University of Mexico, Adams designed the poster, murals, and motif for the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. Upon his return to the United States, Adams went to work at the prestigious Gemini G.E.L. printing workshop in Los Angeles, where he quickly moved from the position of assistant printer to that of master printer. In 1973, he left Gemini to work as a master printer for Editions Press in San Francisco. A year later, Adams moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico to found his own printing company, Hand Graphics Ltd. While there, he also worked as a guest instructor in the printmaking department of the University of Texas in El Paso in 1981, and chaired the Santa Fe Committee for Low-Cost Studio Space for Artists in 1985. Adams sold Hand Graphics Ltd. in 1987 and retired from commercial printing to focus on producing his own artwork. He has since served as artist-in-residence at Hampton University in Virginia in 1989 and at Tougaloo Art Colony in Mississippi in 2002.

Adams has been featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery in Nashville, and the University of New Mexico Art Museum in Albuquerque, among others. His work was included in a travelling exhibition of prints and drawings sent to the USSR by the US State Department in 1966. Pieces by Adams appear in the collections of such noted museums as the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., and the Bronx Museum in the Bronx, as well as in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Accession Number

A2010.081

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2010

Last Name

Adams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Northwestern High School

Sampson Elementary School

Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Otis College of Art and Design

University of California, Los Angeles

Academy of San Carlos

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Ron

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

ADA10

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Any

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Central America

Favorite Quote

For A Long Life, Keep Your Mouth Shut And Your Bowels Open.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

6/25/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon, Poultry, Soul Food, Mexican Food

Short Description

Printmaker and graphic designer Ron Adams (1934 - ) worked as a fine art printmaker at the Gemini G.E.L. studio, where he printed the works of artists like Robert Rauschenberg. He also created his own lithographic prints and collaborated with John T. Biggers and Charles Wilbert White.

Employment

Mission Appliance Service

Hughes Aircraft Company

Litton Industries, Inc.

Gemini G.E.L. LLC

Hand Graphics LLC

Editions Press

University of Texas at El Paso

Hampton University

Memphis College of Art

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ron Adams' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ron Adams lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ron Adams remembers his mother's profession and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ron Adams talks about his maternal grandmother, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ron Adams talks about his maternal grandmother, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ron Adams remembers his father's personality and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ron Adams describes his paternal grandfather's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ron Adams describes his paternal grandfather's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ron Adams describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ron Adams talks about his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ron Adams remembers his childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ron Adams talks about his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ron Adams remembers his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ron Adams talks about his early interest in drawing

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ron Adams describes his experiences at Northwestern High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ron Adams talks about his move to California

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ron Adams remembers meeting his first wife

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ron Adams recalls how he came to be a technical illustrator

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ron Adams describes the technical illustration program at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ron Adams describes his career as a technical illustrator in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ron Adams describes his decision to attend the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ron Adams remembers his professors at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ron Adams recalls the cultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ron Adams talks about his reasons for moving to Mexico City, Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ron Adams remembers his arrival in Mexico City, Mexico

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ron Adams describes the process of lithography

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ron Adams describes the processes of etching and engraving

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ron Adams recalls how he came to work at Gemini G.E.L. LLC in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ron Adams describes how he became the graphic designer for the 1968 Summer Olympics

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ron Adams talks about the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City, Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ron Adams talks about his involvement in the protest movements of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ron Adams describes his work at Gemini G.E.L. LLC in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ron Adams describes the role of a master printer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ron Adams talks about the difference between fine art prints and commercial prints

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ron Adams talks about printer's proofs and artist's proofs

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ron Adams describes his decision to open a printing studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ron Adams talks about the Hand Graphics LLC studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ron Adams remembers working with Charles Wilbert White

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ron Adams talks about the process of publishing a print

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ron Adams recalls his guest lectures

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ron Adams recalls meeting his third wife

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ron Adams talks about his artist residencies

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ron Adams describes his family's impressions of his career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ron Adams talks about his print, 'Blackburn'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ron Adams describes his print, 'Profile in Blue'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ron Adams remembers his relationship with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ron Adams describes his decision to move to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ron Adams describes his hobbies

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ron Adams talks about the arts community in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ron Adams reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ron Adams shares his advice to aspiring artists

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ron Adams reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ron Adams narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
Ron Adams describes his work at Gemini G.E.L. LLC in Los Angeles, California
Ron Adams remembers working with Charles Wilbert White
Transcript
So now, let's go back to 1969 through '73 [1973], and talk to me more about your work at Gemini G.E.L. [Gemini G.E.L. LLC, Los Angeles, California].$$Oh that was, it was a wonderful experience for me because I had to learn the very basics in printmaking, but not very, to the extent that they did it at Gemini G.E.L., because I mean most of the artists that were there were a lot of New York [New York] blue chip artists. And there's a lot of various positive things that happened there, experienced. I met a lot of wonderful friends that we're still in contact today on a monthly or weekly basis, a lot of the guys I worked with then. They worked the hell out of you, because I mean I remember one instance, for instance we were working with, shortly after they did the moon walk on the moon, we were working with Bob Rauschenberg [Robert Rauschenberg], and they had this project that they were gonna do a series of the moon thing ['Stoned Moon,' Robert Rauschenberg]. He was invited to NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] to witness this, and so I don't know, they were gonna do this big sweep or something of his regarding the Americans landing on the moon. Now the fact is, is by us making prints, the more images he would turn out, the more money they would make. So, it was one of those things, we would go in there, work started at eight o'clock, you got off for lunch at ten, and about four o'clock in the afternoon the boss would come by and say, "What do you guys want for dinner?" That means you're gonna be there to do some overtime. Okay about eight o'clock he'd come by and ask you how you like your bacon and eggs. (Laughter) You know you're gonna be there to sunrise. And then you get up, "Now you guys go home, be back in about three hours or four hours and come back to work." And that went on for about a couple of--two or three weeks. But, from this, the advantage of working there, all the work that we worked on we would get one of the printer's proofs, and a lot of people are, like I saw a lot of guys are still living off--some of those prints are worth thousands and thousands of dollars. But, when I moved to New Mexico I sold most of mine; I wish I hadn't. And you know I mean everything from Andy Warhol to just, I mean all of these big names. And you know I had all that stuff under my bed, you know, because we would get one of everything. And they treated us, I mean if you had a hurt hand or something, they would send you to the top doctors in Beverly Hills [California]. And then when they, they actually--one of the highlights, they decided that they were gonna have it showed, the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And they said, "What we're gonna do is fly the whole shop there, the janitors and all. The only thing we request is you guys have a good time." So that was one of those experiences where, I mean I got an opportunity to meet all kind of movie stars, celebrities, and everything. And working in there, I mean there were all these people like coming in there, and one of the guys used to hang out with us, name was Michael Crichton. He was a big star. He wrote 'The Andromeda Strain.' He has done--he's a young guy and he's very wealthy. He's about 6'8" and I heard about a year or two he died, and he wasn't that old a guy either. And he was one of these guys, when he was twenty-one years old he was a doctor and all that. But, he's already from family with money. Anyway, they flew the whole shop there and the only thing they want for you to do is just have a good time and that was about it and they was gonna pay, flew the whole shop there with pay, paid you for a week, you know.$Now, you were there [Hand Graphics LLC, Santa Fe, New Mexico] for seventeen years.$$Um-hm.$$I know there's gotta be some stories about some of the artists that you worked with or--$$Um-hm, oh yeah.$$--or some of the pieces that you know are worth a lot of money or something. Tell me what, tell me, give me a story.$$Well, I think one to me it was--I felt very good about the fact that Charles White [Charles Wilbert White] had sought me out to do a print for him during the bicentennial of the U.S., and it's, it's a matter of he and his dealer, Ben Horowitz [Benjamin Horowitz], flew out to Los- to Santa Fe [New Mexico] for me to do this particular print with Charles White, because he was going to be in a nationally traveling show and he was the only--it was an Afro American show, he was the only living artist to be in there. So, he says, "Well, if it's an all Afro American show I will get it--." And Los Angeles County Museum [Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California] wanted to do a print to help pay for this, so he decided if it's gonna be an all Afro American show, I'm gonna get an Afro American printer to print it. Okay, well he flew out to New Mexico and for some reason--Bob Blackburn [Robert Blackburn] is much more well known than I am. But, why he came there rather than New York [New York] I don't know. Bob Blackburn didn't have the set up that I had because Bob Blackburn's studio [Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop] was for, more or less it's a learning place and that sort of thing and mine was set up on much more professional level than--so they flew out there and, in order for Charlie to do the print with me. And the fact is the first time I had ever won any competition, Charles White happened to be the judge out of the first competition I ever won a piece in, and I had known him in Los Angeles [California] before he had came to New Mexico. So, he and his dealer, Ben Horowitz, flew out there and by Santa Fe being seven thousand feet, and Charles White only had one lung, it is very difficult for him to breathe there. So, we had to postpone that, but I always had wanted to work with Charlie. And so about a year or two later, I decided I would do something with him and, but he could not come to Santa Fe. So, what I decided to do was one of those big litho stones--you see where that television is sitting there, that's, on that flat stone that's a big stone, about the size of that table. I took and drove the stone out to his house from New Mexico to Los Angeles, Pasadena [California], where he was living and set it up in his studio. And then I left my truck there and flew back to New Mexico, and a couple of months later he called me to tell me he had completed the drawing on the stone, then I drove back to California, and another friend of mine was working for an artist that I also had worked with, Sam Francis, a pretty well know artist. He had a printmaking studio out in Santa Monica [The Litho Shop, Inc., Santa Monica, California]. So, I proofed the print up just to see what it looks like in front of Charlie, hey here's what we got, here's the corrections or whatever you have to make, so we can discuss it while he was there--visually. So, he approved it and then I drove the stone all the way back to New Mexico and that's where we printed the edition of that particular stone. And then he and I continued to work together, and he had gotten ill at that particular time, so I was taking him some little etching, some plates and he says to me, "Ron [HistoryMaker Ron Adams], look if you can't--," because it's my own business, he said, "well, if you can't afford to publish these you don't have to, you know." I said, "No, hell no, as long as you feel like drawing, hey I'm, I'm your man, you know you do all you want." So, those were, he was, he did four of these little plates and he called me, because I was sending them back and forth through the mail these small etching plates, and he says he made the corrections and he called me and told me, "Ron, I'm sending these plates back next week." I said, "Okay," and I waited two or three weeks, and I didn't receive them and his wife [Frances Barrett White] called me and said, "Charlie passed this week." So, I never saw, took about a year to hand those up, you know before I got the prints and printed those. Those were his last etchings and engravings, you know.$$Do you know the, remember the name of the piece, the first piece that you did? Was there a name for the, the, the print?$$Charles White?$$Yes.$$Oh, 'Sounds of Silence' [sic. 'Sound of Silence']. It was a lithograph. It's on that, over there, the cover is on that book over there if you wanna see that, 'Sounds of Silence.'

James Hiram Malone

Versatile, prolific, retired graphic artist, cartoonist, writer and painter, James Hiram Malone is the founder and director of Laughing Trees, Inc., a non-profit, volunteer oriented organization operated out of his office, studio, and gallery/home in Atlanta, Georgia. Born on March 24, 1930 at the onset of the depression in Winterville, Georgia to Ralph and Sarah Lena Echols Malone, his father (Malone Sr.) in 1932, moved the family to Atlanta’s Buttermilk Bottom with hopes of attaining a better life for Malone and his older brother, Ralph, Jr. With encouragement from his mother and an elementary school teacher, Malone began to express himself visually at an early age. The earliest exhibition occurred during his junior year in high school. During his senior year, his paintings won him international recognition and a scholarship to attend Morehouse College where he majored in art.

Malone tried to attend “White” Atlanta’s High School of Art but was denied admission. Instead, he joined the U.S. Army, and his military career spanned over a nine-year period. Malone became the first person of color to hold the Fort Jackson post of Art Coordinator NCO and an instructor of the 3431 Army Services Unit Craft Shop. Later, he became the U.S. Army Chief Illustrator in the Special Services Division.

Malone left the military and demanded entrance again into Atlanta’s High School art program. Barred the second time, Atlanta’s High School offered him a voucher to attend an art school up north. At Detroit’s Center for Creative Studies Art and Design College, he earned his Associate of Arts degree. He worked for a variety of companies— always the first and only black in the art department. His employment ranged from a one room small agency’s one-man team to an over four acre K-Mart International Headquarters with a team of hundreds. Before leaving Michigan, for Atlanta, he spearheaded fundraising for the landmark African American History Museum; recorded the 1967 riots in paintings, cartoons and writings; created Michigan Chronicle Newspaper’s cartoon, “Brother,” and “I’m Dreaming of Colored Christmas” greeting cards.

Malone was hired by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as an advertising graphic artist, then promoted to senior graphic designer. He created the cartoon panel “Malone’s Atlanta”, and a literacy guide, (Say) “Simply Apply Yourself”. He organized employees’ Martin Luther King, Jr.’s parade celebration, and gave community students motivational lectures.

Among the books Malone has authored are Brother, No Job Dad and Grandma Sarah’s Closet. His publications include the Ralph Syndicated Comic Strip and the Living Longer Comic Strip. He has written lyrics for the songs, “Homeless Hope” and “Willie Lives in the Street” to bring attention to the plight of the homeless and “Talk to Your Child” to encourage parents’ participation in the lives of their children. His poetry is in the book Word Up. Two of his paintings Faith Moves Mountains and Down Yonder serve as a background for the movie Snow Dogs. His cartoons are published in numerous publications.

Malone is an avid community activist, lobbyist, volunteer for Hosea’s Feed the Hungry and Homeless Program and a columnist for the crusading newspaper, Street Beat. He is CEO of Grove Park Arts Alliance and Neighborhood Association; Board Member of Keep Atlanta Beautiful; past President of the International Black Writers Association; Local 22, Member of the Southern Poverty Law Center of Alabama and the RepoHistory Association; the Buttermilk Bottom Project; past chairman, The Atlanta Project Clusters, promoting local neighborhood’s self reliance.

Malone, The Eldest African American Living Native Son of Contemporary Visual Arts in Atlanta, in 2005, organized and curated, “Homecoming: 20th Century African American Masters Art Exhibition” at the City Gallery East, Atlanta, Georgia, featuring twenty-two artists, was sponsored by the Bureau of Cultural Affairs and Laughing Trees, Inc. An ongoing exhibition of Malone’s artwork is at Teaching Museum South, Hapeville, Georgia.

Malone was divorced and was the father of two sons, Andrew Ralph and Matthew Martin, who reside in Michigan. He passed away on April 9, 2011 in Atlanta.

Accession Number

A2005.256

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/7/2005 |and| 12/19/2005

Last Name

Malone

Maker Category
Middle Name

Hiram

Organizations
Schools

David T. Howard Elementary School

Edmund Asa Ware Elementary School

Booker T. Washington High School

Morehouse College

College of Creative Studies

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Winterville

HM ID

MAL03

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Atlanta, Georgia

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/24/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Chicken)

Death Date

4/9/2011

Short Description

Cartoonist and graphic designer James Hiram Malone (1930 - 2011 ) was a retired graphic artist, cartoonist, writer and painter, and founder and director of Laughing Trees, Inc., a non-profit, volunteer oriented organization. Malone was an avid community activist, lobbyist, volunteer for Hosea's Feed the Hungry and Homeless Program and a columnist for the crusading newspaper, Street Beat.

Employment

U.S. Army

Better Brochures and Catalogues

Federal Department Store

Laughing Trees, Inc.

Atlanta Journal Constitution and Cox Enterprises, Inc.

Montgomery Ward

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Hiram Malone's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Hiram Malone lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Hiram Malone describes his mother's personality and family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Hiram Malone describes his father's personality and family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Hiram Malone describes his grandparents' family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Hiram Malone describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Hiram Malone describes the Atlanta neighborhood of Buttermilk Bottom

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Hiram Malone describes Sanctified churches

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Hiram Malone remembers Buttermilk Bottom's juke joints and sense of community

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Hiram Malone describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Hiram Malone recalls how the Ku Klux Klan assailed Buttermilk Bottom

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Hiram Malone recalls the vendors that would visit his neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Hiram Malone describes the Buttermilk Bottom community and its fate

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Hiram Malone remembers Atlanta's David T. Howard Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Hiram Malone remembers lunch at David T. Howard Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Hiram Malone recalls the elementary schools he attended in Atlanta

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Hiram Malone recalls a fight in his later elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Hiram Malone recalls moving out of Buttermilk Bottom

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Hiram Malone remembers going to the movies as a child in Atlanta

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Hiram Malone recalls seeing movies at Atlanta's segregated theaters

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Hiram Malone describes University Homes in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Hiram Malone describes his early art exhibitions

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Hiram Malone describes his extracurricular activities at Booker T. Washington High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Hiram Malone recalls his teenage experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Hiram Malone describes his decision to attend Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Hiram Malone describes Morehouse College in the late 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Hiram Malone describes changes at Spelman College and Morehouse College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Hiram Malone recalls enlisting in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Hiram Malone explains his decision to leave Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Hiram Malone describes his placement in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Hiram Malone recalls the desegregation of the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Hiram Malone describes the gallery he established at Fort Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Hiram Malone explains the purpose of the art gallery at Fort Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Hiram Malone recalls defying segregation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Hiram Malone describes his experience of racial discrimination at Fort Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Hiram Malone reflects upon what he learned in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Hiram Malone describes his role as chief illustrator in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Hiram Malone recalls helping to solve a burglary case in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Hiram Malone recalls the military bases where he was stationed

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Hiram Malone recalls his success as an illustrator while serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Hiram Malone talks about his first collection of poetry

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Hiram Malone remembers the deaths of his brother and mother

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Hiram Malone recalls deciding to attend the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Hiram Malone describes his role at Better Brochures and Catalogues, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Hiram Malone describes his work at Detroit's Federal Department Stores

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - James Hiram Malone remembers the 1967 Detroit riots

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Hiram Malone describes his involvement in Detroit's art organizations

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Hiram Malone recalls his graphic design career in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Hiram Malone describes his work in Atlanta and his book, 'No-Job Dad'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Hiram Malone describes his poetry and books

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Hiram Malone describes his activism in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Hiram Malone describes his activism in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Hiram Malone describes his work with The Atlanta Project

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Hiram Malone talks about his father's remarriage and death

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Hiram Malone describes his art and activism after retirement

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Hiram Malone describes Laughing Tree, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Hiram Malone reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Hiram Malone shares advice for young artists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Hiram Malone describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Hiram Malone describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James Hiram Malone reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James Hiram Malone narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James Hiram Malone narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James Hiram Malone narrates his photographs, pt. 3

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

9$1

DATitle
James Hiram Malone recalls enlisting in the U.S. Army
James Hiram Malone describes Laughing Tree, Inc.
Transcript
After Morehouse [Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia], you joined the [U.S.] Army, and where were you stationed?$$Fort Jackson, South Carolina [Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina]. Fort Jackson and that's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And where was--$$That's--huh?$$Okay, go on.$$Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It was, it was interesting. But, but what happened is--the interesting thing was when I applied for it. You know, they have what they call these recruiters, and when I, when I went there, I--well, reason why I went there--or what I can say of the job market, but I knew they were going to draft me anyway, you know. I had to go anyway, so I, so I, so I volunteered and went. And so when I got there, the recruiters--they were asking me some questions, you know. I was gonna show 'em my portfolio to--you know, I was thinking that if I show 'em my portfolio that they would be kind of compassionate or sympathetic, know what I was interested in or give 'em my bio, and all that kind of stuff. Boy, what you know. They asked me, "Are you--," you know, they saw that--they wondered why I was a, a member of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], and all that kind of thing, they wondering am I a troublemaker, you know, and it, it kind of shocked me and, and, in fact, they, they didn't want to--you know, didn't want me to--they, they was ready to turn me down, you know? And then they, they had a little huddle together--the two, two, two recruiters, and then they, you know, let me go, you know--let me--okayed me. They were gonna turn me down because of my, my portfolio like I had. They thought that--you know, back then, they would--they, they'd, they'd do that. And I, I didn't--I was shocked, but I wanted--really wanted to go so I, I had my chance then to, to not go to service (laughter). God, and I didn't, didn't do it, I could of, I could of stayed out, and they would have--and then they would ask me why, and they said, "Well, I'm, I'm, I'm part--I'm a member of the NAACP," so, so that's what happened (laughter). Now, seriously that's what happened--$Tell us some more of the projects that you have been involved in since leaving the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.$$Well, what happens, I have done, when I left there, there was so many things to do, but I was interested in doing something locally here in District 3 [Atlanta, Georgia] in my neighborhood, and so one day I was mowing my lawn out here, and I said, "Well, sheesh, you know, I get tired a mowing this lawn," so I, I started--looked at the trees and I said, "Hm, you know, those trees, we could do something with those." So what I did, I timidly, embarrassingly, or whatever you wanna call it, put some paint on the trees, you know, just touched it up a little bit. And, and then I, I decided to do some more on it. I said, "Well, I wanna put these trees to work--I wanna decorate these trees." So, I, I painted the trees, and then after I did that, I said, "Well, what I'm gonna call the trees?" So I called 'em laughing trees. And I did this in 1997. Now, I have what we call a Laughing Trees Incorporation [Laughing Trees, Inc.]. I am the CEO, it's a non-profit organization, mission of preserving open spaces and creating indoor/outdoor art projects. It was created and governed and, you know, staffed by completely volunteered people, and I'm gonna--later gonna plan classes and so forth for the local people here, and especially low-income individuals in the area, and I just wanna give them--this is my greeting card to everybody who drive by, walk by, or whatever, bike by, to see and to, you know, give them a greeting card--constant greeting card. And then I--since this been on the Internet, I received some invitations from other people, they wanted--they was interested in this project, so nationally I received word, and also internationally, people have asked me about this, and they want to do the same thing, so that's been gratifying, that's been. That's, that's great.$$Now, some of your artworks have been used in backdrops for movies and--$$Oh, yeah, my, my work is on the Internet and the, and the, a company, the Winterdance Corporation [sic.] in Vancouver [Canada], saw my, my--saw the artwork, and they was sort of interesting because they wanted to do the backdrop, or the background for, for movie houses, and so they, they selected two of my paintings and I sent them the images, and they used them in the movie called 'Snow Dogs,' which came out in 2002. It was, it was--it, it starred Cuba Gooding [Cuba Gooding, Jr.], he was the star in the movie, and it was, the, the, the, the paintings was called 'Down Yonder,' [ph.] and 'Faith Moves Mountains' [ph.]. And it, it worked out good, too. They, they used the images, but I kept the original paintings.

Frank Lucas

Graphic designer Frank Lucas was born on August 29, 1930, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He went on to become the first African American illustrator and photographer in Boston's advertising industry.

Raised in Cambridge, Lucas was attracted to art at an early age. With his talent, he was hired as an Army illustrator and photographer during the Korean War. After the war, he returned to Boston and graduated from the Vesper George School of Art in 1955. Lucas was then hired as a graphic designer at Parsons Friedmann and Central. He would later move to Barker Black Studios, where he worked primarily with publishers.

In 1966, Lucas was hired at Ginn and Company, a publishing house where he supervised art editors in the purchase of illustrations and photography for school textbooks. During his thirty-one years there, Lucas also managed packaging and oversaw art direction for the firm's advertising and promotional materials. Later, as director of art and design for children's trade books, Lucas pioneered new techniques in design, production and printing. He retired from the company in 1997. Since then, he has served as a consultant and art director to Course Crafters, a firm that produces materials for Sesame Street, Berlitz and several other educational publishers.

In addition to his work experience, Lucas has directed the career of many art students teaching art at several Boston art schools. He also taught graphic design and lectured at the famous Rhode Island School of Design. Lucas and his daughter, Diahanne, published a monthly New England newspaper, Reunion, for four years. Lucas has drawn wide praise and is the recipient of several awards for his professional work. He and his wife, Patricia Ann, have been married since 1957 and have three children. They reside in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

Accession Number

A2003.078

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/13/2003

Last Name

Lucas

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Houghton Elementary School

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Vesper George School of Art

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Frank

Birth City, State, Country

Cambridge

HM ID

LUC01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Life Is One Our Greatest Blessings.$Everyone Should Have An Honest Occupation.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

8/29/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Rice

Short Description

Graphic designer Frank Lucas (1930 - ) became the first African American illustrator and photographer in Boston's advertising industry. As director of art and design for children's trade books, Lucas pioneered new techniques in design, production and printing. Lucas also taught art at Boston area schools.

Employment

Parsons Friedmann and Central

Barker Black Studios

Ginn and Company

Course Crafters

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:4060,82:7508,105:9332,147:9788,215:25452,440:29645,478:45494,726:52060,815:52455,909:57116,994:61206,1021:61936,1032:65148,1133:67119,1232:70550,1298:72229,1357:75733,1451:77047,1471:83630,1486:86168,1561:88216,1605:93200,1674:93550,1680:93830,1685:94110,1690:118140,2188:131278,2424:140595,2528:143390,2569:146090,2633:156680,2797:164480,2998:168536,3087:177693,3264:178386,3274:180465,3332:180773,3337:181312,3350:191210,3481:203420,3704:207230,3756:208112,3769:208798,3781:214839,3865:215546,3877:216859,3918:219325,3950:234935,4257:235330,4263:235725,4269:256172,4580:256568,4588:257030,4597:258840,4615$0,0:9770,206:58568,802:62858,910:65960,963:79638,1175:165016,2512:166984,2546:185904,2830:188886,2882:196128,3077:196554,3084:222650,3342:229402,3394:236500,3498
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frank Lucas's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frank Lucas lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frank Lucas describes his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frank Lucas describes how his mother and father came to the United States from Barbados

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frank Lucas describes his father's employment

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frank Lucas describes how his father defended himself and his family with a homemade wooden club

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frank Lucas describes his mother's experience as a domestic

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frank Lucas describes his parents' emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frank Lucas describes how his parents met and when they got married

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Frank Lucas describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Frank Lucas describes how his mother took care of his family

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Frank Lucas describes his experience at Houghton Elementary School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Frank Lucas describes his experience at Ridge Technical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frank Lucas describes his decision to enroll at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston, Massachusetts in 1950

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frank Lucas describes how he paid for tuition at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston, Massachusetts in 1950

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frank Lucas describes his experience as an artist/illustrator with the Ninth Division of the U.S. Army during the Korean War

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frank Lucas describes his service in the U.S. Army and graduating from the Vesper George School of Art in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frank Lucas describes the first job he received as an advertising designer

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frank Lucas describes the racism he experienced trying to find employment in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frank Lucas describes being hired to work at Parsons, Friedman and Central Advertising in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frank Lucas describes getting married to Patricia Ann Lucas in 1957

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frank Lucas describes his brother and role model, Ray Allen

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Frank Lucas describes leaving Parsons, Friedman and Central Advertising to work at Barker-Black Studios

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frank Lucas describes his experience with Barker-Black Studio and his work after it closed

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frank Lucas describes being hired by Ginn and Company in 1966

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frank Lucas describes his experience as high school division supervisor at Ginn and Company

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frank Lucas describes his experience at Ginn and Company and the corporations that owned Ginn and Company while he worked there

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frank Lucas recalls the way he was hired at Ginn and Company

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frank Lucas describes his experience as the only African American editor at a meeting of nationwide publishers in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frank Lucas describes his struggle to introduce diversity into his book designs for Ginn and Company, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Frank Lucas describes his struggle to introduce diversity into his book designs for Ginn and Company, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Frank Lucas describes his retirement from Ginn and Company and his experience working for Course Crafters

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frank Lucas describes publishing the Reunion newspaper with his daughter Diahanne Lucas

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frank Lucas describes the labor that was involved in publishing the Reunion newspaper

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frank Lucas talks about his children

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frank Lucas shares the advice he gives to others about careers in graphic design

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frank Lucas describes organizing the Cambridge Reunion Group to raise money for college scholarships

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frank Lucas describes his collection of multicultural art and historic artifacts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frank Lucas describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frank Lucas reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Frank Lucas describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Frank Lucas narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frank Lucas narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Frank Lucas describes the first job he received as an advertising designer
Frank Lucas describes his experience as the only African American editor at a meeting of nationwide publishers in Detroit, Michigan
Transcript
But I soon learned fast when I started to go out there and started to look for my first job. And it was interesting because you know I would--the school had a great placement and they would send off letters saying that they have this guy Frank Lucas who was good at photography, he could--was good at calligraphy, design, illustration. He knew a lot about you know specification of type and all that sort of stuff that makes a designer. Everybody was wanting to see me. But when you got there they usually say "Well the job is taken" or "You're too good for us," you know all those types of things. So I would go home and I would--my father [Kenneth Lucas] would ask me, "Well how did it go today?" And I would tell him that I didn't get the job. I didn't--because I was innocent to the whole thing. And he would simply say to me "You didn't get it because you weren't good enough." "You just didn't have what it took, okay." He didn't brow beat me but he just said, you need to know more. And so I would take additional classes wherever I could find them at Northeastern University [Boston, Massachusetts]. I tried some courses at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts]. I tried other things sharpening up my skills so that when I went in there again they would know. I think one of the things that proved to them that--because I'm sure they were apprehensive about whether or not I could make a living from this thing was that there was store, a department in Cambridge [Massachusetts], they had two stores, big stores and we would shop there from time to time, Cochran's Department Store. And I went in there one day and I would just walk into a store and says, you want any artwork done? That's how naive I was. And the business manager came over to me, says, "Yeah." He says, "you know I could use some signs for my window. We're about to celebrate our Seventy Fifth Anniversary of the store. How would you like to do the signs for the window?" I mean these are huge department store windows and I was pretty good at lettering. And he told me what he wanted and he told me the type of, the type that wanted, old--kind of an old fashioned Bonham [ph.] type I believe it was called. And I had no car so I had to buy the supplies. I went over to the big store in Boston that sold art supplies and I got rolls of paper. I mean these rolls were like eight feet long because these windows are huge. I bought buckets of paint. I had to get these things back home on the street car, if you can imagine and I got them home and my father--I told him that night that I got a job from Cochran's Department Store and he's, oh wow that was great. That's where we bought our clothes. That's where we did our shopping. How big can you get? And what was great about our house is that our bathroom was like a railroad car. It was long and it had walls that you couldn't believe and so I stretched the paper. The thing that I remembered about my father because it was so important to him that I succeed and even though he was going to work the next day at seven o'clock in the morning, this man stayed up with me all night long and he watched me work and he'd talk to me about all kinds of stuff. And he got me coffee or cocoa, or whatever it was to keep me awake because it was many times during that night I wanted to say to heck with it, throw my hands up and walk away. He kept talking to me. And I finished the job and I took it down to the store and the guy looked at me and says kid, he says I didn't think I was going to see you today. But there was the stuff, spelled right, looked good huge amount of stuff. And he says, how much do you want for it? I had no idea, no idea at all. And I whispered, a hundred and fifty dollars okay? Well, the job was probably worth fifteen hundred dollars but a hundred and fifty, I thought of all the money in the world. And he called after the secretary and she came in and she wrote me a check for a hundred and fifty dollars and I came home. I don't even think I walked I must have ran all the way home. And I showed my mother [Millicent Alleyne Lucas] and she gasped cause it was more money than--I made in one night than my father would make in maybe three weeks or maybe a month. And she says don't cash the check. Wait until your father comes home. And I waited and he came home and I showed him the check and he says to me--he didn't even say it to me. He looked at my mother and he says, I guess he's going to be okay. That was it. So they knew that I could make it with the skills that I had.$I know that there was a friend of mine and he was a long time, he left the company [Ginn and Company], but he was the first black salesman and so forth. The Ginn always had, and other publishing companies always have black salesmen. These are the people that can go into the black neighborhoods and these are the people that can go into certain areas that maybe a lot of white people might not want to go into and so forth so they were always there. The--there's a little story there too. Many years ago, working for a company, we got a call from Detroit [Michigan] and Detroit was reading the riot act to every publisher in the entire country. And what they were saying was that we just don't like how books are presenting our life and so forth. I mean there was still--because there was no one else there to say you're wrong. I mean there were people there that had jobs but they didn't know what our culture was like or what things that we liked. They only saw that from maybe the shows that they saw on television, so there was a lot of bad stuff going out there. But Ginn made it a point since I was there to use me as best they could to fill in those gaps, to train them so to speak. And I can recall going into, flying out one night to Detroit. I mean it was a last minute thing, rush, rush, rush. Get on, you know get out of here. So I got there and there's this meeting of all--our salesmen now are coming in. This is serious. I mean we, we're spend--I mean revenue's coming out of Michigan was several hundred thousand dollars and now Detroit's saying we don't want you anymore to everybody. So the next day we went to the Superintendent's office, a big building in Detroit and the school board, cause I was there once before, but the school board was never that many blacks. I think the--on the dais then it was probably about, out of the ten or twelve people there, there was probably about nine blacks and so forth. And one fellow who I can't recall his name now but he stood up and he says "I know who you all are out there" because there was a sea of black people there. Where did they, all these people come from? He says, "I know who you are." He says "you're all the salesmen they can find to send out here." I mean we're talking about three or four hundred people in this audience. He says, "Is there anyone here that represents the editorial side of things, anyone here that call the shots?" So I was sitting in this row of people and I can remember one of the VPs of sales, he kind of leaned over and looked down past seven or eight people to where I was sitting, I caught his eye and it was like telling me, get up, get up. And so, not a public speaker, I got up and they wanted to know who I was. And I told them that I was the person who put the right things in the books for our children and I believe that Ginn and Company does a great job. I can't speak for the other companies here. I was going to put in as much as I could but this is what we're doing and so forth. And he says well thank you very, very much. Is there anyone else? There was nobody else. And even today, there's nobody else really out there that did what I did, okay. So I can feel you know somewhat comfortable but I get very upset, myself, when I look around me and I see that some of our boys and girls are not really doing the things that they should be doing. Again my parents without--with a seventh grade education knew that education was key to the whole thing.

Thomas Miller

Visual artist Thomas Miller was born in Bristol, Virginia, on December 24, 1920. Miller graduated from Douglas High School in Bristol in 1937 and went on to earn a B.S. from Virginia State College in 1947. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in World War II.

Miller expressed interest in art when he was very young. He began drawing when he was just nine years old. However, it was not until he returned from the war and moved to Chicago that Miller formally studied art for the first time. He was the only black student enrolled at the Ray Vogue School of Art, where he received his degree in design in 1950. That same year, he was one of two African Americans accepted into the Society of Typographic Art. He worked briefly as a commercial artist for Gerstel/Loeff before joining Morton Goldsholl Associates, the internationally renowned design firm where he worked as a graphic designer for thirty-five years on projects like his 1970s redesign of the 7-Up packaging and identity.

In addition to commercial design work, Miller has enjoyed a successful career as an independent visual artist. While stationed abroad during World War II, he sold oil paintings in England, France and Belgium. He is particularly known for employing a technique known as monotype, a subtractive process in which pigment is removed from paint-coated glass.

More recently, Miller has focused his efforts on creating mosaic portraits. In 1995, as the honoree for the 21st Annual Arts & Crafts Promenade in Chicago, Miller's mosaic portraits of the DuSable Museum's eight founders were permanently installed in the museum's lobby. Miller's portrait of Chicago's late mayor Harold Washington is also in the DuSable Museum's permanent collection.

Though he no longer conducts gallery shows, Miller continues to paint, draw and create in various media. Miller has received numerous industry awards and much recognition for his achievements in the field of graphic design. He and his wife, Anita, have three children and reside in Chicago's Beverly community.

Miller passed away on July 19, 2012.

Accession Number

A2003.059

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/31/2003

Last Name

Miller

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Douglas High School

Virginia State University

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Thomas

Birth City, State, Country

Bristol

HM ID

MIL01

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Florida

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/24/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Turkey, Dressing

Death Date

7/19/2012

Short Description

Graphic designer and painter Thomas Miller (1920 - 2012 ) has enjoyed a successful career as an independent artist and is known for portraits and mosaic portraits.

Employment

Gerstel/Loeff

Morton Goldsholl Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:8415,141:8925,148:11050,174:11900,185:15810,261:18955,302:30978,405:78501,952:78793,957:84646,994:85228,1001:112110,1388:122676,1487:131942,1619:140410,1713$0,0:4028,116:8816,238:9120,243:37431,622:37747,627:47148,775:49281,884:52520,937:94273,1405:96055,1422:123510,1827:137881,2051:144515,2135:144943,2140:166463,2517:184700,2756:188020,2815
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas Miller's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas Miller lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas Miller talks about his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas Miller describes his father, Edward Miller

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas Miller describes his mother, Rosa Miller

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas Miller continues to talk about his mother, who drove a Flint

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas Miller describes Bristol, Virginia, where he was raised

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas Miller talks about his four siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Thomas Miller describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Bristol, Virginia, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Thomas Miller describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Bristol, Virginia, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas Miller talks about learning to draw

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas Miller talks about his experience at Douglas High School in Bristol, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas Miller describes his reaction to the DAR's refusal to let Marian Anderson sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas Miller talks about his academic performance and influential figures during his high school years

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas Miller talks about the role of church in his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas Miller talks about his high school activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas Miller talks about John Borigan and his studies at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas Miller talks about playing football and basketball

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas Miller talks about his service in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas Miller talks about his service in the 3437 Quartermaster Trucking Company during World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas Miller recalls standing up to a racist officer while serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas Miller describes how he met his wife, Anita Miller, and their three children

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas Miller talks about operating a service station after World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas Miller talks about his experience at Ray Vogue School of Art in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas Miller describes his struggle to find a job as well as working at Morton Goldsholl Associates

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas Miller talks about the early years of his career, the Society of Typographic Artists, and HistoryMaker Leroy Winbush

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas Miller talks about designing logos for clients like 7-Up, Motorola, and IMC

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas Miller recalls experiences of racial discrimination throughout his career as a graphic designer

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Thomas Miller talks about racist advertisements

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas Miller continues to talk about racism in the advertising industry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas Miller talks about civil rights activism and the impact of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas Miller reflects upon his career as a graphic designer

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas Miller talks about his work after retirement including mosaics for The DuSable Museum commissioned by HistoryMaker Margaret Burroughs

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas Miller talks about his mosaic art at the DuSable Museum

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas Miller talks about experimenting with different art mediums and honing his creativity

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas Miller explains his disdain for the label "black" art

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas Miller describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas Miller talks about his favorite artists including Leonardo da Vinci

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas Miller talks about his favorite works

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas Miller reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas Miller talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas Miller narrates his photographs, pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas Miller narrates his photographs, pt.2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Thomas Miller describes his struggle to find a job as well as working at Morton Goldsholl Associates
Thomas Miller talks about his mosaic art at the DuSable Museum
Transcript
I couldn't get a job. I opened a little office of my own, a temporary office. I rented a little space up on Cottage Grove. I was gonna do things like letterheads and, and collateral material, but I cou--I couldn't do it because I couldn't--I didn't have the backing. Nobody would patronize me as a commercial artist. So I went and did the job that you see me in there now, all--no, no blacks. They, they even told me things when I went to get--I was walking the streets with my portfolio, trying to get a job. I was told that I couldn't work there, of course, and this was in, in Chicago, as I said, in the '40s [1940s], late '40s. But I, I stuck with it, and this gentleman, Mr. [Morton] Goldsholl, wonderful man--he's a wonderful man if he hadn't hired me--but he hired me, and I worked with Goldsholl Associates. It was not--I won different awards at this job, Larry, but I was always--and the men that you see, there's about six of us, we were always Goldsholl's associates, not a person working for Goldsholl. And that made us all recipients of many awards and rewards, didn't all just go to the man who hired us. He had the collective bunch of about 10, 8 or 10 people, and they were all designers, graphic designers. And that's what I wanted to be, and that's what I did end up being. But Mr. Goldsholl was (unclear)--he's dead now, but he was such a wonderful guy to work for. And he would do what other, other people in Chicago wouldn't do, he took a chance. And that picture you see, my best friends, one was a Japanese, and one was a German, and one was Italian, and they were all people, who were just good and earned a living. So that kind of broke, broke down a barrier of prejudice.$There's one of [Jean Baptiste Point] DuSable too, discovering the city of Chicago [Illinois] that's not up yet, but it's gonna be installed soon, right?$$Now that's the one I was telling you about that I was commissioned to do, took me a long time to do it. It's a very large--I mean it may be 30 or 40,000 chips in each one of those. I did 'em for the west wall and for the east wall, and due to some electrical fixture problem they had that ComEd was supposed to--this was to supposed to have been unveiled last year, and Margaret has been trying to get that done. And I don't know when they're gonna install it, but they will I'm sure, because it's a lot of work. I went from, as I say, from the Chicago River where, where DuSable first came and had the trading post, from that, the Indians, the everything in the history was done in mosaic form. And she commissioned me, and that was--they paid quite a bit for that. That was, that was quite a job. It was good, a good, a good experience for me [clearing throat], for me, and I enjoyed that. I, I wish they'd put it up though.$$Yes, I do too. How long does it take to do, say, one of those panels in the DuSable Museum?$$Well, I'd say it'd take me a month.$$How large are, are they and, and how--$$Well, the one of [Mayor] Harold [Washington] is probably about four feet or five feet. The ones in the oval shape, I, I would estimate they're about maybe four feet. And you know, into an oval shape, I don't, I don't know the specific oval amount it is, but I do know that if you could take it from top to bottom, bottom in the oval, it'd be about four or five feet in size. In that book I, I show size relationship of 'em, and if--I'd say they'd be about this high from the floor, and how I'm going through--I can't express it in numbers right now 'cause you're looking at the world's worse mathematic, mathematical guy. I, I ducked mathematics all in school too. I can just give you an estimate to what I thought they were size-wise. But I do know the, the ones on the wall they're from ceiling to floor. That's, that's, that's pretty high. They're about over six feet wide, and then they go up to heights to the ceiling. I did know at one time. I had the measurements. But I'm trying to think of how they--you know, off the top of my head I can't think of what the exact measurements were. They're still up I think, or half of 'em are. And one day, they got--they, they are cov--they're covered now. Did you go over there? You didn't see nothing underneath those veils 'cause they had a, they had a cover over the half that's up of, of that same one that you're talking about. They never have. They were gonna put the other half up later on, but they haven't gotten to doing that yet. So I guess they will one day. I hope they will.

LeRoy Winbush

Renaissance man LeRoy Winbush was born on December 7, 1915, in Memphis, Tennessee. His many accomplishments include founding his own graphic design business and creating a name for himself as a scuba diver as well as a bowler and skier.

At age five, Winbush moved with his father to Detroit, Michigan, after his parents separated. He moved to Chicago at age fourteen and attended Englewood High School. He performed with a singing trio called the Melody Mixers, which gained attention through engagements at clubs and hotels as well as on CBS and NBC radio stations. After graduating from high school in 1936, Winbush worked at a sign shop as an apprentice. The Regal Theatre hired him in 1938 to design and paint the theater front. Then, he designed signs and displays as the only African American employee at Goldblatt's Department Store and eventually became their art director. In the 1940s, Winbush revolutionized the window displays of banks and earned a reputation as one of the country's top airbrush artists. He also worked as art director at Johnson Publishing Company for a decade, where he helped to create the first issue of Ebony. He then founded Winbush Designs in 1946.

After a solid career as a pioneering graphic designer, Winbush tackled a new challenge at age forty-eight: he learned how to swim at Chicago's Lawson YMCA. He enjoyed it so much that he studied scuba diving, qualifying for Lawson's 20 Fathom Club in 1966. He served as the club's president from 1968 to 1983. Winbush has led underwater expeditions all over the world, including the Red Sea, Dutch West Indies and Jamaica. He combines his love for diving and designing as an underwater photographer and has created oceanic exhibits in Florida's Epcot Center as well as Hong Kong's Ocean Park Museum. Winbush began ice diving in 1973.

Winbush has held many prestigious posts. He was the director of design for the Illinois Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1967 and served as vice president of Our World Underwater, an annual seminar in Chicago, for seventeen years. He has been a design consultant for the DuSable Museum since 1992. Without having attended college or any art schools, Winbush became an assistant professor in visual communications at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently writing his autobiography.

Accession Number

A2002.095

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/29/2002

Last Name

Winbush

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Wingert Pre-Vocational School

Edmund Burke Elementary School

William W. Carter Elementary School

Englewood High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

LeRoy

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

WIN01

Favorite Season

None

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/7/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens (Mustard)

Death Date

5/28/2007

Short Description

Graphic designer LeRoy Winbush (1915 - 2007 ) founded his own graphic design business and created a name for himself as a scuba diver. Winbush revolutionized the window displays of banks, and earned a reputation as one of the country's top airbrush artists. He also worked as art director at Johnson Publishing Company for a decade, where he helped create the first issue of Ebony magazine.

Employment

Mentrell Parker

Goldblatt's

Johnson Publishing Company

Winbush Associates

Art Institute of Chicago

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of LeRoy Winbush interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush recalls memories from his youth in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush discusses growing up in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - LeRoy recounts his early education in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - LeRoy Winbush discusses his early experiences in art

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush talks about the demographics of his high school and environs

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush remembers his position as an apprentice with a sign shop

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush recalls his relationship with Charles White

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush gives an overview of his career as a sign painter

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush explains the application of gold leaf

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his transition into the role of art director

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his career path to Goldblatt's

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush remembers nearly being drafted into the U.S. Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush names various jobs he held

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush explains his career with the Johnson Publishing company

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush describes his duties with Johnson Publishing Company

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush names coworkers at Johnson Publishing Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - LeRoy Winbush talks about bringing his advertising ability to the banking industry

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - LeRoy Winbush comments on how he built his client base

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - LeRoy Winbush discusses his connections to Chicago's art community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush talks about his experiences with music

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush remembers his marriages

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush looks back on his past and discusses future plans

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush recalls experiences with the Art Directors Club of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush explains the various directions in which his career has taken him

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - LeRoy Winbush details his introduction to and successes in scuba diving

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - LeRoy Winbush discusses his involvement with Our World Underwater

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - LeRoy Winbush talks about encountering a shark

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - LeRoy Winbush comments on his movie cameo

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - LeRoy Winbush explains New Year's Day dives

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - LeRoy Winbush talks about some of his hobbies

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - LeRoy Winbush considers his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - LeRoy Winbush discusses the relationship between black design organizations and white agencies

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - LeRoy Winbush ponders how he'd like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - LeRoy Winbush comments on his family's views of his success

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - LeRoy Winbush shares his thoughts on The HistoryMakers project