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Shirley Kinsey

Art collector and educator Shirley Pooler Kinsey was born on February 7, 1946 in Lake City, Florida to Erma and Eddie Pooler. She grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, and was raised by her paternal grandmother, Susie Plummer Pooler. Kinsey attended the Richard J. Murray High School, where she was valedictorian of her graduating class. She then went on to attend Florida A&M University, where she married her husband, Bernard Kinsey, and graduated in 1967 with her B.A. degree in English.

Upon graduation, Kinsey moved to California, where she was hired as an elementary school teacher for the Compton Unified School District. Then, from 1973 until 1982, Kinsey worked as a trainer and training manager for Xerox Corporation. She also went on to receive her M.A. degree in multi-cultural education from Pepperdine University in 1976. From 1985 to 1995, Kinsey served as a project manager for KBK Enterprises, Inc., a real estate development firm.

Kinsey and her husband are known for their collection of African American art, books and manuscripts that document and tell the story of African American triumphs and struggles from 1604 to the present. Their exhibit, entitled “The Kinsey collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey – Where Art and History Intersect,” has been on national tour since 2006, and has been on exhibit in fourteen museums, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and Epcot at Walt Disney World. In 2009, Kinsey, with her husband, co-authored The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, a companion book to their exhibit, which was adopted by the Florida Department of Education as part of their African American history curriculum for grades K-12 statewide.

In 2008, Kinsey co-founded the Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Foundation for the Arts and Education to promote education and understanding of African American history and culture through the exhibition of their personal treasures. Additionally, she has helped raise over twenty-two million dollars for charitable and educational institutions, including Florida A&M University. Kinsey has also received numerous awards, including the Spelman Alumni Humanitarian Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Florida A&M University, and a Living Legend Award from ESPN.

Kinsey resides with her husband and son in Pacific Palisades, California.

Shirley P. Kinsey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 18, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.340

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/18/2013

Last Name

Kinsey

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Rose

Occupation
Schools

West Augustine School #6

Excelsior Elementary

Richard J. Murray High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Pepperdine University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Shirley

Birth City, State, Country

Lake City

HM ID

KIN18

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy, Kenya

Favorite Quote

To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/7/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Eggplant Parmesan

Short Description

Art collector, educator, and Shirley Kinsey (1946 - ) and her husband, Bernard Kinsey, were the owners and curators of an extensive collection of African American art, books and manuscripts. She coauthored The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, which was a companion book to the exhibit of the same name.

Employment

Kinsey Collection

Delete

KBK Enterprises, Inc.

Xerox Corporation

Compton City Schools

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shirley Kinsey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shirley Kinsey lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shirley Kinsey describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shirley Kinsey describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shirley Kinsey talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shirley Kinsey describes her likeness to her parents and paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her home life

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shirley Kinsey describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her neighborhood in St. Augustine, Florida

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

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Shirley Kinsey describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her paternal grandmother's first visit to California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shirley Kinsey recalls her influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shirley Kinsey remembers the all-white school near her home in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shirley Kinsey recalls her early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shirley Kinsey describes her paternal uncle, James Webster

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her mentor, Rosalie Gordon-Mills

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shirley Kinsey remembers the Excelsior School in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shirley Kinsey talks about the schools in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Shirley Kinsey describes segregation in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Shirley Kinsey remembers Richard J. Murray High School in St. Augustine, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Shirley Kinsey recalls her decision to attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Shirley Kinsey remembers joining the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shirley Kinsey remembers being arrested during a CORE demonstration, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shirley Kinsey remembers being arrested during a CORE demonstration, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shirley Kinsey remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shirley Kinsey remembers James N. Eaton

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her first teaching jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shirley Kinsey remembers the notable figures at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shirley Kinsey describes her education at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her marriage to Bernard Kinsey

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Shirley Kinsey remembers teaching in Compton, California

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Shirley Kinsey recalls the start of her art collection

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shirley Kinsey describes her financial planning

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shirley Kinsey recalls developing an interest in black art and culture

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shirley Kinsey remembers the birth of her son

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shirley Kinsey recalls collecting Ernie Barnes' paintings

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shirley Kinsey recalls the start of her historical document collection

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shirley Kinsey talks about her educational outreach

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shirley Kinsey talks about her time at the Xerox Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shirley Kinsey talks about moving frequently

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Shirley Kinsey recalls her start in the real estate business

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Shirley Kinsey describes her real estate business

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her early art shows

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shirley Kinsey talks about her fundraising events

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shirley Kinsey remembers sharing her collection with young people

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shirley Kinsey remembers her dinner parties for Tom Bradley and Rosa Parks

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shirley Kinsey recalls lending her collection to the California African American Museum

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shirley Kinsey describes the growing interest in her art and history collection

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Shirley Kinsey remembers the digital exhibition of the Kinsey Collection

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Shirley Kinsey recalls publishing 'The Kinsey African American Art and History Collection'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Shirley Kinsey remembers creating an exhibit for Black History Month

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Shirley Kinsey describes her partnership with Wells Fargo and Company

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Shirley Kinsey describes her exhibit at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Shirley Kinsey describes her plans for a documentary film

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Shirley Kinsey reflects upon her museum career

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Shirley Kinsey describes her favorite pieces in the Kinsey Collection, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Shirley Kinsey describes her favorite pieces in the Kinsey Collection, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Shirley Kinsey describes her son's involvement in the Kinsey Collection

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Shirley Kinsey reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Shirley Kinsey describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Shirley Kinsey reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Shirley Kinsey shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Shirley Kinsey describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Shirley Kinsey narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Shirley Kinsey narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Shirley Kinsey remembers her early art shows
Shirley Kinsey recalls lending her collection to the California African American Museum
Transcript
So you said some events took place in this house that led to (simultaneous)--?$$(Simultaneous) Yes and actually I should go back a little bit. You know we've been talking about some of the artwork and collecting and stuff. One of the things that we started doing early on once we started collecting art and paintings particularly was that we wanted to introduce artists to our friends. And so we started having, we'd have an art show at the house. [HistoryMaker] Ed Dwight who's, who's a wonderful sculptor who was the first--he's, his whole life is historic too. I mean he was the first black astronaut trainee under Kennedy [President John Fitzgerald Kennedy] and then went and turned on the other side of his brain. His passion is sculpting. And so we did an art show for him in 1987 at our second house in the Palisades [Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California] frankly and that was our first big show and--because we didn't know about him initially. In 1986 I think it was we were in Hawaii and saw his work in a gallery there. And so the, the gallery owner was telling us who he was and he had been an astronaut trainee. We literally both looked at each other and said how come we don't know about him? He is African American and we don't know this about him? And so Bernard [Kinsey's husband, HistoryMaker Bernard Kinsey] literally--found out he was in Denver [Colorado], called him up, invited him to come to L.A. [Los Angeles, California] and what we do? The Urban League dinner was going on. We invited him to that and became friends and started having--so we had two shows for him. One there and had one here. Each time he sold like really, really well you know because people just, they love his work but nobody--don't know him. Matter of fact Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon became very, very big collectors of his and they've had art shows for him since you know since that time. And it's just been a real pleasure seeing, that, that, that work. His I think was one of the first shows we did. Then we did another one for [HistoryMaker] Jonathan Green and that was in this house. That was like the early, late--mid-'90s [1990s] or so. Jonathan Green. I have some abstracts on the wall back here. Bill Dallas lives in Oakland [California] kind of an unknown artist, but we really like his work and so we had a show with him. [HistoryMaker] Phoebe Beasley is a good friend of ours now and we've done stuff with her and it's just been great to be able to promote you know their work, not only for us to have it but for other people to have the pleasure of meeting them and of having it in their homes. So that's been a big thing.$So then in 2005 when L.A. Times [Los Angeles Times] called, one of the ladies had been here I think when we had the photographers here and she was a writer with L.A. Times. So she knew the house so she was now working for the home section and so she called and said, you know wanted to know if we would be interesting in letting them do a feature on the house, the architecture of the house and the whole bit. And we said, "Yeah, well, okay come out we'll talk about it." And she wanted to bring her editor with her. When she did and they got here and they saw all the artwork, they said, "Oh no, this is more than just the style of the house, this is," (gesture). And by this time California African American Museum [Los Angeles, California]--she sort of knew sort of what we had but you know we hadn't really talked about doing anything. And when they came by here from the L.A. Times the article wound up being with this huge spread and it was the house and the artwork and the whole bit so then the California African American Museum contacted us. One of the women on the board was a friend and she said, "You know we're trying to get the museum--get African American collectors to share their exhibits. The museum needs to have content and so we'd love it if you guys would be a part of that," you know.$$Is this the museum in--$$Here. Locally here.$$--Los Angeles [California]--$$In Los Angeles.$$--the one near the old stadium?$$Um-hm, yeah Exposition Park [Los Angeles, California], over there right. And so they came out and we talked and they said you know, "It, it would jumpstart it for us because if you guys do it you know we think we can get other collectors to do it and stuff too." So we couldn't start right away and they found somebody in San Francisco [California] to do it and they, he did his and it went over very well and then ours went in. Well in the meantime--oh I can't remember who--someone referred us to [HistoryMaker] Bill Whitaker at CBS and told him that this was a story that he should look at. He's with 'CBS Sunday Morning' and so he talked to Bernard [HistoryMaker Bernard Kinsey] on the phone. Bernard was in Florida, he talked to Bernard on the phone, we had never met him, talked to Bernard on the phone I guess he did his research now this is before we, we'd set up that it's gonna go to the museum so the story was gonna be about it going to the museum I guess so Bernard called me and said, "Bill Whitaker's coming out on Thursday and they're gonna do a story on us with the art exhibit, about the art exhibit." I said, "What do you mean? Don't they have to come by here and see what this is all about before they decide this?" He said, "No they're coming with the cameraman and with the producer and with somebody else or whatever and they'll be there on Thursday." That's what they did. So they came out, they did you know the whole interview and stuff here, then they said, "We're not gonna run it right away, we wanna wait until," that was in August of '06 [2006]. The article had come out like November of '05 [2005] and so this was August of '06 [2006] so they came out and they said, "Okay we're gonna wait until it opens at the museum because we're gonna follow you, wanna be at the museum when it's opening." So they came out when it opened that weekend and they followed us in the museum and talked to people and you know got input on it and all that stuff and then they ran the article on 'CBS Sunday Morning,' Martin Luther King weekend in 2007 that Sunday, which was really pretty special, pretty special, pretty special.

Daniel Texidor Parker

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2009.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/16/2009

Last Name

Parker

Maker Category
Middle Name

Texidor

Organizations
Schools

John Farren Elementary School

DuSable High School

Chicago State University

Kennedy–King College

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Daniel

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PAR08

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/6/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

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

Employment

Thomas Chalmers Elementary School

Spry Upper Grade Center

Olive-Harvey College

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$5

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

Patric McCoy

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2008.129

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/7/2008

Last Name

McCoy

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Englewood High School

Austin O. Sexton Elementary School

Fellrath Junior High School

University of Chicago

Governors State University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Patric

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MCC11

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Stop Trying, Just Do.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/20/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruit, Fish

Short Description

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

Employment

Englewood Public Schools

City of Gary, Indiana

Environmental Protection Agency

Favorite Color

Orange

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

11$3

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

Susan Cayton Woodson

Art enthusiast Susan Cayton Woodson helped collect and preserve several works from the Chicago Renaissance. Born on October 16, 1918, in Seattle, Washington, Woodson was raised by her maternal grandparents after her mother died when she was just a year old.

From an early age, Woodson was conscious of her heritage, and expected to live up to the reputations of her ancestors. Her great-grandfather, Hiram R. Revels, became the first African American senator in 1870 when he won election from Mississippi during Reconstruction. At home, Woodson was influenced by the accomplishments of her grandparents. Grandmother Susie Revels Cayton was a suffragette and union activist, and Woodson's grandfather, Horace Roscoe Cayton, published the Seattle Republican, the city's first black newspaper.

Woodson attended Washington State College until her grandfather's death in 1940; at that time her grandmother decided it would be best to send Woodson some place where she could get married, and chose to move her to Chicago. Paul Robeson, a friend of Woodson's siblings, flew out to chaperone Woodson on the drive to Chicago. In Chicago, Woodson lived in the Rosenwald; home to many of the city's black intellectuals and artists.

After working at the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, Woodson volunteered at the Parkway Community House where her uncle, Horace Cayton, Jr., became director; she herself became a board member in 1973. Over the years, Woodson befriended Eldzier Cortor, Langston Hughes, Ted Ward, Richard Wright, and many other artists and activists from the eras of the WPA and Chicago Renaissance. Woodson also formed relationships with Chicago's great artists, and began collecting art commemorating these important movements. The Susan Woodson Gallery houses the preeminent collection of the Chicago Renaissance and has attracted an international clientele.

Woodson served on the board of the South Side Community Art Center, and was a member of the Vivian G. Harsh Collection at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library.

Woodson passed away on January 31, 2013.

Accession Number

A2003.105

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/14/2003

Last Name

Woodson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Cayton

Occupation
Schools

Washington State University

James A. Garfield High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Susan

Birth City, State, Country

Seattle

HM ID

WOO03

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Willie Leftwich

State

Washington

Favorite Vacation Destination

Seattle, Washington

Favorite Quote

The kitchen is closed.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/16/1918

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cobbler (Apple)

Death Date

1/31/2013

Short Description

Art collector Susan Cayton Woodson (1918 - 2013 ) is a collector and preservationist of Chicago Rennaissance art. The Susan Woodson Gallery houses the preeminent collection of the Chicago Renaissance and has attracted an international clientele.

Employment

Supreme Liberty Life Insurance

Parkway Community House

Susan Woodson Gallery

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
530,0:2426,17:3453,31:4006,39:6850,69:7166,74:7561,80:12600,145:13580,175:14210,185:19741,228:20398,237:20909,246:22889,255:24130,278:28074,367:31440,415:32034,428:33024,458:33486,467:39325,515:43090,546:45695,563:46050,569:47541,587:49666,602:50081,608:50496,614:52073,638:57255,691:59937,720:62040,740:62670,754:72344,857:73048,867:73928,880:77750,914:78075,920:78855,932:79115,937:81320,952:81712,957:82300,964:83476,979:84162,988:84848,997:85338,1003:93821,1062:98808,1107:100106,1139:100519,1147:100755,1152:101109,1160:101404,1166:103792,1186:104728,1202:105016,1207:105376,1213:105664,1218:106240,1227:107248,1251:107536,1256:107824,1261:108184,1267:111152,1287:111590,1294:113050,1309:113853,1323:116244,1341:116972,1351:118804,1363:119350,1371:119896,1380:124000,1413:126394,1434:126642,1439:134088,1542:134700,1549:135108,1554:135516,1559:136536,1573:138474,1604:140037,1610$0,0:11700,198:11948,203:18707,289:18991,297:19275,302:19843,312:21192,338:30381,462:31237,474:31772,480:36644,523:36928,528:37283,536:38064,550:38632,560:43383,627:51110,716:51656,724:57272,818:58052,843:59456,862:60158,872:64370,883:76954,1067:77298,1072:77900,1080:78330,1087:82674,1105:84578,1144:85666,1167:86414,1179:87162,1193:87910,1207:88386,1218:88794,1225:89678,1235:90222,1245:90970,1266:91446,1275:96214,1317:99526,1407:100534,1428:102622,1467:103054,1474:105358,1529:105862,1538:110390,1552:111190,1565:113830,1600:114150,1605:116456,1628:116967,1636:117916,1653:128232,1873:128602,1879:129268,1890:129564,1895:133927,1936:134322,1942:137390,1956:142660,1981:143332,1988:146188,2029:146608,2035:146944,2040:148120,2054:148456,2059:150472,2094:150976,2101:151732,2113:152068,2118:153076,2127:153412,2132:157570,2140:158074,2171:160306,2204:160810,2212:163656,2238:163852,2243:167692,2311:167972,2317:168588,2331:168812,2336:169764,2358:176846,2459:178910,2473:179834,2490:180088,2508
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Susan Woodson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson talks about her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson remembers her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson recalls her father's background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Susan Woodson recalls problems traveling to her father's funeral

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson remembers her early reaction to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson talks about growing up in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson discusses childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson describes family life during her childhood in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Susan Woodson talks about her brothers' wives

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Susan Woodson remembers elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Susan Woodson explains hardships during junior college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Susan Woodson details her years at the Rosenwald Building

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson describes Chicago's racial and social climates

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson talks about experiences with Paul Robeson

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson recalls her attempts at finding work in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson remembers meeting her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Susan Woodson explains various family problems

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Susan Woodson talks about her husband's professional career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson remembers opening her gallery

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson discusses experiences with Charles Sebree and his art

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson recalls the Woodson family's business successes

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson names artists she's worked with

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Susan Woodson explains how she got involved in showing WPA artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Susan Woodson talks about various ways she's obtained artwork

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Susan Woodson discusses William McBride's art collection

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Susan Woodson talks about how Margaret Burroughs helped artists

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Susan Woodson recalls rewarding moments in gallery ownership

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Susan Woodson comments on her hopes for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Susan Woodson considers her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Susan Woodson shares her regrets

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Susan Woodson looks back on her career

DASession

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DATitle
Susan Woodson remembers her early reaction to Chicago, Illinois
Susan Woodson remembers opening her gallery
Transcript
Paul Robeson was closing out a concert that was at 43rd and Ashland, some large building there. And it was something to do--it was an all-black affair. There must have been thousands there, must have been. So he flew out and drove to where we were and from there, drove into Chicago [Illinois].$$Paul Robeson drove you to--$$No, the driver, but he was with--I was with two men, Gene Coleman and Paul Robeson and myself. And this was--Madge [Cayton] felt that was secure. She was the matriarch of the family at that period. So we drove into Chicago, and the first thing that--I was looking at all these black people. So he had Gene stop at 47th and Michigan, and we just stood on that corner. I had--it was a new world, complete new world. Black people dressed up. We walked up 47th Street, businesses, black businesses. And they had on these red suits and hats and red shoes. And they were just--I had never seen such a city that was awake with people walking up and down the streets, going into stores, drug stores. And I used the word, I used the word to Paul, "Look at these niggers". Now, this is what, you know, we were talking like that in those days. And "Look at these niggers. I've never seen anything like it." And he says, just wait until tonight. And so we slowly walked up 47th Street to the Rosenwald, a new, brand new world. And walking into the gates of the, front gate, it was paradise. And so we took pictures and then I took a picture of Gene and Paul in front of where we were going to be living. And that's what this picture on my wall comes from. It was a new world.$I know you met a lot of artists and a lot of activists along the way, now, but you--how did the idea for gallery come up?$$Sitting home with your husband [Harold Woodson] wondering, now, what can I talk about now. And, and Harold would read and tell, want to discuss his books. I didn't want to talk about the books. I enjoyed art. I enjoyed it, and I joined the [South Side] Art Center. Vern Gayeton [NOT FOUND] brought me on the board there. And one day there was a woman from Oak Park came into the art center and said that, I have a lot of black art that I'd like to sell. And at the art center, we don't do it like that. We have shows. And she couldn't--and she'd gone to several of the art--Nicole's, several people, and they said, no, we can't do it. So I, I heard about it, and I had the director to drive me out there. And there was all this wonderful black art, Charles (unclear) Sebree. I had some of it on my walls, beautiful art. I said, I'll sell it in my home. I said, just bring it all to me. And Mrs. Woodson had passed so I, I opened that bedroom into a gallery. It's so interesting, you know, the artists did support me. I had two comfortable chairs in the middle of the room and a coffee table for people to come in and just sit down and relax. And Sylvester Britton, who was my main artist, came in. He says, take these things out of here. You don't have to make it comfortable. You're selling art. You're not--this isn't a living room. Take it out. Sell the art and get the, put the best art forward. And that was the beginning of it. And Walter Evans from Detroit [Michigan] has several books out on his collections. He came here one day, and somebody told me about him, and he was checking it out. And I don't know how the conversation came up, but I said, well, where are you gonna take your art? He said, I'm thinking about putting it back here. And I had the best, top art in my small gallery. And people bought and--but I didn't have heavy names to come in. The little names were buying these, this work, putting it in will-call. He stayed with me and kept bringing more work in until he wanted, he decided he wanted to buy that picture, this Charles White. He stayed with me long enough for me to be able to say, no, I'll never sell it. So art, I don't know if he'll come back or not, but he's well wanted. His art collection, I'd love to sell it.$$That's on Evans and--$$Walter Evans.$$Walter Evans, okay.$$He's now down in Atlanta [Georgia].

Vivian D. Hewitt

Art lover and librarian Vivian Hewitt was born on February 17, 1920, in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Hewitt was the fourth of five children, her elder siblings all born in North Carolina. Her father, Arthur, was a skilled laborer, and her mother, Lela, worked as a teacher and housewife. After completing high school, Hewitt attended Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.A. in 1943. The following year, she graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh with an M.S. in library science. She attended the University of Pittsburgh for further graduate studies in 1947 and 1948. Geneva awarded her an honorary degree in 1978.

Hewitt began her career working in libraries in 1944, when she was hired by the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh as the senior assistant librarian. Relocating to Atlanta in 1949, Hewitt took a position as a librarian and instructor at Atlanta University's School of Library and Information Science. Hewitt and her husband, John, had a son in 1952, and Hewitt returned to work in 1954 as a researcher for Crowell-Collier Publishing. Hewitt joined the Rockefeller Foundation in 1956, and in 1963 she was hired by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to serve as chief librarian. She remained there until her retirement in 1983. Since then, she has served on the Council on Foreign Relations and on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin.

A lover of travel, Hewitt and her husband began buying works of art wherever they would go, and gave them as gifts on special occasions. They began their collection in earnest by collecting Haitian art for fifteen years. Living near and knowing many of the African American artists from New York, they began to collect their works, as well. In recent years, the collection, considered one of the finest of African American art in the world, was bought by Bank of America and given as a gift to the Afro-American Cultural Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Hewitt is also active in other areas, serving on the Board of Governors of the Laymen's Club of the Episcopal Church of the Diocese of New York, and has served as the secretary of the board of the Graham Windham Child Care & Adoption Agency. She has also received the Distinguished Service Award of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Special Library Association.

Accession Number

A2003.136

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/18/2003

Last Name

Hewitt

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Organizations
Schools

Martin Gantz School

North Street School

George Washington Intermediate School

New Castle Junior/Senior High School

Geneva College

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Vivian

Birth City, State, Country

New Castle

HM ID

HEW01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Flexible - Any age - the joy of collecting (African American) Art

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: plus travel and lodging expenses

Preferred Audience: Flexible - Any age - the joy of collecting (African American) Art

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Italy, Paris, France

Favorite Quote

That's Absolutely Right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/17/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Art collector and librarian Vivian D. Hewitt (1920 - ) served as the chief librarian at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace until 1983. She and her husband also collect artwork, especially Haitian art, and in recent years, the collection, considered one of the finest of African American art in the world, was bought by Bank of America and given as a gift to the Afro-American Cultural Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Employment

Carnegie Library

Atlanta University

Crowell-Collier Publishing

Rockefeller Foundation

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

University of Texas, Austin

Council on Foreign Relations

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vivian Hewitt's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vivian Hewitt lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vivian Hewitt describes her maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her extended family which includes HistoryMaker Melvin L. Watt and Karen Grigsby Bates

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her father, Arthur Davidson, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her father, Arthur Davidson pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vivian Hewitt describes her mother, Lela Mauney Davidson

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vivian Hewitt describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vivian Hewitt continues to describe her mother, Lela Mauney Davison

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vivian Hewitt describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vivian Hewitt describes the town of New Castle, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vivian Hewitt describes her grade school years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her early interest in Haiti

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her favorite teachers in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vivian Hewitt describes her experience at New Castle High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the influence of the A.M.E. Church on her social life and formation

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vivian Hewitt talks about Youngstown, Ohio and her decision to attend Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vivian Hewitt talks about Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vivian Hewitt describes her experience at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her son's education at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vivian Hewitt describes her admission to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vivian Hewitt describes her training as a librarian and her work practicum in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her library work in the Hill District of Pittsburgh

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the Pittsburgh Courier and her social activities in the Hill District

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vivian Hewitt talks about working in Harlem and Pittsburgh's reputation as the "Smoky City"

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vivian Hewitt describes her work practicum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vivian Hewitt talks about Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood and August Wilson

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vivian Hewitt describes how she became a librarian at Atlanta University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vivian Hewitt talks about meeting her husband, John Hewitt

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vivian Hewitt talks about Charles "Teenie" Harris, her wedding photographer

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vivian Hewitt talks about HistoryMaker Evelyn Cunningham at the Pittsburgh Courier

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the numbers game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vivian Hewitt talks about baseball in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Vivian Hewitt describes her experience in Atlanta, Georgia while teaching at Atlanta University

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her initial interest in special libraries

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vivian Hewitt talks about working at Crowell-Collier Publishing Company

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her appointment at the Rockefeller Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vivian Hewitt talks about Dean Rusk and working at the Rockefeller Foundation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vivian Hewitt describes her introduction to the Rockefeller Foundation's partnering librarians

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her work at the Agricultural Library of the Rockefeller Foundation in Mexico City, Mexico

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vivian Hewitt talks about Mexico and HistoryMaker Elizabeth Catlett

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vivian Hewitt talks about Mexican artists and Dolores del Rio

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vivian Hewitt talks about Mexican influences in the art of Jean Charlot

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her job at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vivian Hewitt talks about training aspiring diplomats at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vivian Hewitt talks about meeting Brian Urquhart and Robert Rhodes James

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her professional life after retiring in 1983

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the Hewitt Collection and becoming president of the New York Chapter of the Special Libraries Association

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Vivian Hewitt talks about facing challenges as the national president of the Special Libraries Association

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the death of the executive director of the Special Libraries Association, Frank McKenna

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the death of Frank McKenna, executive director of the Special Libraries Association

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the appointment of David Bender as the head of SLA

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Vivian Hewitt talks about her legacy at the Special Libraries Association

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the Bank of America's acquisition of the Hewitt Collection

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the touring Hewitt Collection, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the touring Hewitt Collection, pt.2

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the black aesthetic and how she chose pieces for the Hewitt Collection

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Vivian Hewitt describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Vivian Hewitt reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Vivian Hewitt talks about how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Vivian Hewitt talks about the importance of oral history

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Vivian Hewitt narrates her photographs

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Vivian Hewitt describes the town of New Castle, Pennsylvania
Vivian Hewitt talks about Mexican artists and Dolores del Rio
Transcript
When the Depression came, and they reduced their staffs, then my cousin became the chauffer-butler for the same family. And my father [Arthur Davidson] worked in a, in the Lawrence Club, the private club and then later became a skilled laborer in one of the mills and--because by this time he had bought his home, reared his family, and didn't want to uproot them to, to move. And Depression was on, but those rich families lived very, very well. And of course they networked with other rich families from Ohio, from Cleveland, Ohio, from Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania]. One family had a square block for their two homes, and they gave that, their homes to the city of New Castle [Pennsylvania], and now they are the arts and cultural center. And I went up some years ago to, to a mu--to see an art show there. They had a ballroom. They, they just had everything. They had about an acre of land where they had a gar--a full-time gardener who grew their vegetables, their flowers. But there were, there were a number of families like that. But the town--oh, and then the Italian people over the years got educated and came into the ascendency and became politically savvy, so there was an Italian mayor at least 30, 40 years ago. But the Jewish population had shrunk. They used to have two synagogues; they only have one. And for many years my optometrist was a Jewish man originally from New York who, who was also a personal friend, and, and I see him when I go home. And they, their, their two sons have, have left because there's not much to keep them there. And New Castle has actually become a bedroom community for Pittsburgh, which is just 50 miles away. The highways are very good. You can tool down the highway in, in an hour. And Pittsburgh is thriving. And Pittsburgh, which used to be steel and mill--the mills and everything--is now high tech. Education is the hu--biggest employer, and then the hospitals, and then technology. Those are the three main industries, so a lot of the people from New Castle, many of them, commute to, to, to Pittsburgh to work.$$Now, when, when you were a little girl growing up in New Castle, was there--was the black community separate? Was it a separate black community, or were people scattered around, and, and were, were, were the steel mills close by? Could you smell the mills and all--$$No, no, no, we, we didn't live near the mills. They--you had to--'cause my mother [Lela Mauney Davidson] would drive the men to, to, to work. No, we didn't live near them. Some people did, some who would come up from, from Alabama and Georgia. But the black people lived--there was a heavier concentration in First Ward and, and the Sixth Ward, but they were--there were some families who were scattered about on the south side and the east side, and even a few on the north side, which was the posh section of the city. I go back now and they live anywhere they got the money, you know.$$So did your family live near the family that your, that, that, that, that, that your father worked for, or did you (simultaneous)--$$We lived, we lived about a mile away, and we lived on the, on the same street. We all knew each other. We had fun growing up. It was a mixed neighborhood. I grew up in a neighborhood of African Americans, Italian Protestants, and Irish Catholic. And we were all friendly, and we were in and out of each other's homes. And the Italian family across the street, if my mother was sick, Mrs. Perilla (ph.) would, would make Italian soup and spaghetti and bring over to us. And she baked bread in an outdoor oven, and it smelled heavenly. And the Irish Catholic family who lived down the street took her--they had the same doctor, country doctor, and they would drive to--we were very, very friendly. So we, we--and that was true with the, with all of my--all of us who lived on, on, on the street, on the hill. We were just about five doors from the church too, so we spent Sundays in church.$So we're wrapping up the trip to Mexico.$$Yeah.$$All right, so what happened--what was the highlight in the trip to Mexico you think?$$Oh, getting to see the Mexican artists. You know, when, when John [Hewitt] and I married in 1949 we got some money as wedding presents, and we honeymooned here in New York. And remember I told you we had a faculty suite, so we went to the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and in Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], to the Carnegie. And we brought good prints, and we took them back to Atlanta [Georgia], had them framed, and hung them in our suite. We wanted it decorated as, as, as cozy and as nice as possible. But we were always on the same wavelength as far as art was concerned. And the paintings that we bought, we bought Orozco's "Zapatistas". And we bought a Picasso still life, and a Brach still life, and (unclear)--(unclear). But I like the Mexican paintings. And in Mexico, I got to see in, in Cuernavaca, the murals that Diego Rivera had done-- was very privileged because our experi--agricultural experimental station for the Rockefeller foundation was at Chapingo, which was a little suburb from Mexico City. And in the chapel at Chapingo, Orozco had done beautiful, beautiful murals. And this is off the tourist beat, so I had--was privileged to see those. But everywhere I went I saw wonderful paintings. And then this journalist-lawyer friend of Langston Hughes introduced me to some of his friends. And one of them was--depending on to whom you talked, she was either the greatest patron of the arts or the greatest courtesan in Mexico City. Her father had been a general under Pancho Villa in the Mexican Revolution. And she was married to one of Manuel's classmates, another lawyer, who was much younger than she. And they lived in El Pedregal, which was a very rich, very lovely section of Mexico City. And Manuel took me out to her home, and she was living in the little cottage while the big house was being built. And then a couple of years later I went back and it was--she had been sculpted and painted by every one of the famous painters in Mexico City by Tamayo, by Siqueiros, by Orozco, by all of them. And all of these paintings were there, so I said to her, I said, do you mind? She said oh, Vivian, this is just a small house. There are only two bedrooms. But what a house. The guest house was their library. So I said do you mind if I take pictures? She said oh, take all you want. So I said, (unclear) where are you going to leave your paintings? She left them to the Mexican government (unclear), and the books, she left to the library in Oaxaca. But her name was Maria Asunsolo [Dolores del Rio]. So that was one of the highlights of--a really true highlight of my Mexican experience. And she was very close friends to Nelson Rockefeller and his first wife [Mary Rockefeller]. And--but she thought that because I worked at Rockefeller Foundation that, that maybe I was one of them, ha--had news for her (laughter). But she had a lovely, lovely place in El Pedregal. What else did I like in Mexico? I liked--this is 1958. This is a Spanish country, and women do not go about alone, okay. But I had to eat, so I made it a habit to take my main meal of the day in a Mexican restaurant. And Manuel wanted to improve his English, and I wanted to learn a little bit of cocktail Spanish. So he would come and accompany me most times to a restaurant with his dictionary, and we would sit there and eat, you know. So I ate in all the really good restaurants. I was living in the Zona Rosa. Then occasionally friends would be visiting in Mexico, and I would have dinner out with them. Other times, I just stayed at the, at the hotel, 'cause I was just a block or two from the, from the office. But I, I had a wonderful time. I appreciated Mexican culture, mainly Mexican art, loved it.