The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Daniel Texidor Parker

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

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

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

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

Accession Number

A2009.146

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/16/2009

Last Name

Parker

Maker Category
Middle Name

Texidor

Organizations
Schools

John Farren Elementary School

DuSable High School

Chicago State University

Kennedy–King College

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Daniel

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

PAR08

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

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

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/6/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

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

Employment

Thomas Chalmers Elementary School

Spry Upper Grade Center

Olive-Harvey College

Favorite Color

Orange

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$5

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