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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

Interview Description
Birth Date

2/7/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

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.