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Della Hardman

Arts educator Della Hardman was born on May 20, 1922, in Charleston, West Virginia; her mother, Captolia Brown, was a teacher, and her father, Anderson Hunt Brown, owned a meat market in Charleston and later worked as a realtor for fifty years. Following the death of her mother, Hardman was raised by her aunt Della Brown, a teacher who always encouraged her young niece to pay attention in school, especially in history. After graduating from Garnet High School in 1940, Hardman enrolled in West Virginia State College, where she earned her B.S. degree in education in 1943. From there, Hardman continued her education at the Massachusetts College of Art, and earned her M.A. degree from Boston University in 1945. Hardman continued on with her education throughout her lifetime, earning her Ph.D. from Kent State University in 1994; she also attended numerous educational institutes both in the United States and abroad.

While attending college, Hardman worked throughout the summers at her father’s real estate office, where she was a licensed real estate broker in West Virginia until 1986. In 1952, Hardman took a position with the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, where she remained for two years; from there, she began teaching art in the Boston Public Schools. In 1956, Hardman became an associate professor of art at West Virginia State College; she continued in that post for the next thirty years. During her tenure at West Virginia State College, Hardman also lectured at a number of other universities and art galleries. Concurrently, Hardman hosted The Black Experience on WKAZ in Charleston between 1978 and 1988.

Throughout the course of her life, Hardman served actively with a number of groups, including acting as a chairperson of the board of trustees of the Charleston Art Gallery, and being a member of the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the National Association of Art Administrators. Hardman was recognized as an Alumna of the Year by her alma mater, West Virginia State College; as the Outstanding Art Educator by the NAEA; and was named commissioner of the West Virginia Arts and Humanities Council by Governor John D. Rockefeller.

Hardman traveled extensively around the globe, and was the proud mother of three, including HistoryMaker Andrea Taylor and grandmother of seven; she passed away on December 13, 2005, at the age of eighty-three.

Accession Number

A2004.134

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2004

Last Name

Hardman

Maker Category
Middle Name

Taylor

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

West Virginia State University

Boston University

Garnet High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Della

Birth City, State, Country

Charleston

HM ID

HAR11

State

West Virginia

Favorite Quote

Don't Move When You're Eighty.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/20/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

12/13/2005

Short Description

Art professor Della Hardman (1922 - 2005 ) was an associate professor of art at West Virginia State College for thirty years, and a frequent guest lecturer at a long list of universities and art museums.

Employment

Fogg Art Museum

Boston Public Schools

West Virginia State College

WKAZ Radio

Favorite Color

Lavender

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221077">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Della Hardman's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221078">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Della Hardman lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221079">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Della Hardman talks about her maternal family background and the history of African Americans in Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221080">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Della Hardman remembers her maternal grandparents and an uncle's familial research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221081">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Della Hardman talks about her mother's life and art</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221082">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Della Hardman remembers learning about her mother through memories shared by others in her community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221083">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Della Hardman shares her paternal family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221084">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Della Hardman talks about her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221085">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Della Hardman talks about her father's real estate and business ventures</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221086">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Della Hardman recalls her earliest childhood memories of Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221087">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Della Hardman describes her paternal aunt's personality and influence on her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221088">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Della Hardman recalls a trip to Ghana with her father and her daughter around 1964</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221089">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Della Hardman remembers her father's successes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221090">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Della Hardman talks about her father and brother's participation in civil rights activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221091">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Della Hardman remembers the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221092">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Della Hardman recalls music, sports and teachers in Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221093">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Della Hardman remembers attending the First Baptist Church in Charleston, West Virginia when it was pastored by Mordecai Johnson and Vernon Johns</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221094">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Della Hardman remembers notable West Virginians</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221095">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Della Hardman talks about James Produce Company, the oldest continuously operating black business in the U.S.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221096">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Della Hardman talks about attending Boyd School in Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221097">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Della Hardman remembers her close-knit community, teachers and class trips during her time at Garnet School and Boyd School in Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221098">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Della Hardman remembers the March on Washington in 1963</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221099">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Della Hardman recalls being reared by her Aunt Della</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221100">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Della Hardman recalls an influential art teacher at Garnet High School in Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221101">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Della Hardman talks about her experience growing up black in Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221102">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Della Hardman recalls her experience attending Garnet High School in Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221103">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Della Hardman talks about her father and brother's avoidance of arrest while integrating parts of Charleston, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221104">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Della Hardman remembers her father's insistence that she attend West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221105">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Della Hardman recalls others who attended West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221106">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Della Hardman talks about learning black history from her aunt and father and hosting a radio program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221107">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Della Hardman explains how she was able to interview Gwendolyn Brooks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221108">Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Della Hardman talks about her radio show, 'The Black Experience' and how she finds interviewees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221109">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Della Hardman recalls her summer college job and moving to Boston, Massachusetts to study art</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221110">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Della Hardman recalls her experience living in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221111">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Della Hardman talks about her marriage to her first husband, Francis Taylor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221112">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Della Hardman talks about being hired to work at the Fogg Museum at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221113">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Della Hardman explains how teaching art at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia led to her world travels</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221114">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Della Hardman remembers Hoyt Fuller</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221115">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Della Hardman talks about attending the World Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN) in Dakar, Senegal</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221116">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Della Hardman talks about attending Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC '77) in Lagos, Nigeria</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221117">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Della Hardman remembers travelling in South Korea as part of the Friendship Force International</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221118">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Della Hardman remembers her first husband's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221119">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Della Hardman talks about her art career and her experience teaching at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221120">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Della Hardman recalls spending her sabbatical year at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221121">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Della Hardman talks about the life and works of William Edouard Scott</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221122">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Della Hardman talks about taking her students at West Virginia State College to Europe</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221123">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Della Hardman talks about retiring from pottery-making and starting her radio show the 'Black Experience' in 1978</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221124">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Della Hardman explains how childhood visits to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts led to her buying a home there</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221125">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Della Hardman talks about her trips to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts as an adult and buying property on the island</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221126">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Della Hardman explains why she loves Martha's Vineyard and Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221127">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Della Hardman talks about writing for the Vineyard Gazette</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221128">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Della Hardman describes her stories in the Vineyard Gazette featuring HistoryMaker Bill Overton and HistoryMaker Robert C. Hayden</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221129">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Della Hardman talks about reuniting with Leon Hardman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221130">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Della Hardman talks about her marriage to Leon Hardman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221131">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Della Hardman talks about her children and grandchildren</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221132">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Della Hardman describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221133">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Della Hardman reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221134">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Della Hardman reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221135">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Della Hardman talks about her family's support for her</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221136">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Della Hardman names notable and memorable students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221137">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Della Hardman describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/221138">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Della Hardman narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

12$9

DATitle
Della Hardman explains how she was able to interview Gwendolyn Brooks
Della Hardman talks about writing for the Vineyard Gazette
Transcript
The very first person that I interviewed was--she just died, poet laureate of Chicago [Illinois].$$Gwendolyn Brooks.$$Gwendolyn Brooks, the very first interview. And how did that happen? Well, the story about that is this. My husband, my first husband, Francis Taylor, died in 1978, and my brother [Willard L. Brown], incidentally died a month later. I'll never forget 1978. And my--the radio station [WKAZ-AM, Charleston, West Virginia] had offices in the building next door to my father's [Anderson Brown] building in downtown Charleston [West Virginia]. And they knew my husband 'cause he was a very popular musician in town. Everybody knew Francis Taylor. And after he died, they approached me and said they felt that they were not doing enough to meet the needs of the black community and would I be interested in hosting a radio show. Well, (laughter) I was shocked because I'd never done anything like that. I had been writing art reviews for the state's largest newspaper. And that's one thing. I'm supposed to know something about that, but to host a radio show, I'd never done anything like that. So I, I said, "Well, what makes you think I can do it?" And they said, "[HistoryMaker] Della [Hardman], you can do it." So it just so happened the person who lived across from me--by this time, I had married and had children, and I was living in Kanawha City [Charleston, West Virginia] in Charleston. And the person who lived behind me on another street, our backyards met, was a white neighbor. And she was very active in the West Virginia Writers Group [sic. West Virginia Writers, Inc.]. And she told me, she said, Della, guess who's coming to be our speaker? Gwendolyn Brooks. And she said, I think you should know about that. I said, oh, that's exciting. And I said, Gwendolyn Brooks--and this was the time that they were asking me about this radio show. I said, wouldn't it be great if I could get her to, to let me interview her. So she said, she's staying--and she told me where she was staying. And she was staying in a hotel close to where--you know, I could pick her up. And I knew how to reach her. I called Gwendolyn Brooks. And I said, "Ms. Brooks, you don't know me, but we have a mutual friend, Hoyt [W.] Fuller." Does that name mean anything to you?$$Oh, it means a lot. He was--$$Hoyt was a good friend--(simultaneous)--$$--the editor of Black World and Negro Digest, right?$$--of mine. Okay, I said, "We have a mutual friend in Hoyt Fuller," and I said, "Hoyt is a very good friend of mine." I said, "I've been asked to do this radio show ['The Black Experience'], and I'm sure (laughter), I'm--I've never done this before." And I said, "If you don't mind being my guinea pig, I'd love for you to be my first interviewee." And she said, "Well, certainly." So I picked her up and took her to the radio station and did this interview.$Now, you are a reporter. You write a weekly column, in--what's the name of the paper?$$The Vineyard Gazette.$$The Vineyard Gazette, and you cover Oak Bluffs [Massachusetts], which is part of--correct me if I'm wrong, but Oak Bluffs is a historic--I mean part of it is a historic black community basically--(simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, historically--$$--in Martha's Vineyard [Massachusetts].$$--I think more blacks have been here. But now blacks are everywhere, like everything else. Yes, there's an interesting story about my becoming a part of the Gazette staff. I had a major heart attack in 1998--was it '98 [1998]; can't even remember that, in '95 [1995]. And it as in '95 [1995], and I was going to take a writing course because I'm thinking about these memoirs and that biography and someone was offering a, a writing course that I thought would add a great deal to what I wanted to do. So I took the writing course. And while there, you had to read whatever you had written. And someone was in the class who worked for the Gazette and she went back and told [Richard] Dick Reston that she thought she'd found someone who might want to replace Dorothy West. Now, can you imagine that? So Dorothy was not well, and had not written a column for some time. She was a friend of mine. And I knew her quite well. So when I was approached, I said, well, there're two or three things I have to consider here. The first thing I have to do is discuss this with my cardiologist because I've had a major heart attack. And if there's anything I do not need it's stress. So they said, well, talk to him, and, you know, think about it, and let us know. So I talked to my cardiologist in Boston [Massachusetts] and we discussed it. And he said, "Well, [HistoryMaker] Della [Hardman], since it's only for, once a week, and if you'd like to do it, why don't you give it a try. And if you find that you can do it without pressure, go ahead. And if not, you know, don't. You don't have to commit yourself." So when I went in to talk to them about it, I had written a piece. They printed the piece that I wrote. And that's how I got the job. And I--that was, let's see. I talked to Dorothy about it, and she was very pleased. I said, "Dorothy, I've never done anything like this." I used to write the art reviews for my school paper, for maybe the state's paper, the state's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette and the Sunday Gazette Mail [Charleston Gazette-Mail]. I said, but I've never done anything like this. She said, "Oh, Della, you can do it. And you'll enjoy it." Well, I'd had that radio experience [program, 'The Black Experience'] which was a little bit similar. So at any rate, to make a long story short, I've done it now--I said, Dorothy did it for thirty years. And I said, I'll do well if I can make it to thirty months. And I've done it now since, since Dorothy died. So I've enjoyed it, and I do the column every week. And from time to time, there will be other stories that I do as well. And this, two weeks ago, I had three things in the paper, including the column. And if they print everything that went in yesterday, there'll be three this week. So I enjoy it because I, as I say, I like to be busy, and I like to know what I'm doing when I wake up in the morning and I've got to work out a schedule now that's going to allow me to fit other things into my schedule, and especially, do I want to just take a certain day that I'm gonna do nothing but write on those projects that I'm working on for me.