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Leslie King-Hammond

Academic administrator Leslie Ann King-Hammond was born on August 4, 1944 to Evelyne Alice Maxwell King and Oliver King. King-Hammond is of Caribbean ancestry and grew up in South Jamaica and Hollis, Queens, New York. She attended New York City Public Schools and won a full stipend-tuition scholarship by the SEEK Grant at the City University of New York, Queens College. King-Hammond accepted the scholarship, attended Queens College and graduated in 1969, earning her B.F.A. degree. She went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from John Hopkins University in 1973 and 1975 respectively.

King-Hammond officially started her career after finishing her undergraduate education in 1969 serving as Chairman of the Art Department for the Performing Arts Workshops of Queens, New York. She remained in this position until 1971, when she became program writer for Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU) in Harlem, New York. HARYOU-ACT, Inc. worked to increase opportunities in education and employment for young blacks in Harlem. In 1973, King-Hammond began lecturing at the Maryland Institute College of Art. By 1976, she was promoted to Dean of Graduate Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art, a position she still holds. Between 1977 and 1981, King-Hammond served as Doctoral Supervisor for Howard University’s Department of African Studies. Between 1980 and 1982, she served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Between 1983 and 1987, King-Hammond worked as Commissioner for the Civic Design Commission in Baltimore, Maryland. Between 1990 and 1996, she served as art consultant for the Afro-American Historical & Cultural Museum. Between 1985 and 1998, King-Hammond served as Project Director of the Phillip Morris Scholarships for Artists of Color. From 2000 to the present, she has served on the Board of Directors of the International House of Art Critics.

King-Hammond has been honored and awarded several times over during her career including the Kress Fellowship, 1974-1945; Mellon Grant for Faculty Research at the Maryland Institute College of Art, 1984; the Trustee Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1986; and the National Endowment for the Arts Award, 2001.

In 2007, King-Hammond was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

King-Hammond was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.164

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/26/2007

Last Name

King-Hammond

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

P.S. 104, The Bays Water School

P.S. 142, Shimer Junior High School

Andrew Jackson High School

State University of New York at Buffalo

The New School for Social Research

Queens College, City University of New York

Johns Hopkins University

First Name

Leslie

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

KIN11

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Jonathan Green Studios, Inc

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

I'm Blessed To Be Vertical.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/4/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ice Cream, Nuts, Fruit

Short Description

Academic administrator Leslie King-Hammond (1944 - ) was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

Employment

General Electric

Maryland Institute College of Art

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Burgundy Reds

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leslie King-Hammond's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers her trip to Barbados

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about her mother's childhood in Barbados

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her father's involvement with the Universal Negro Improvement Association

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her father's occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers seeing a poster of Emmett Till

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her early interest in art

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers her family's response to her art

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls the early inspiration for her artwork

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her lessons at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her piano lessons

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond describes one of her early self-portraits

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls volunteering at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers her early feminist outlook

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers leaving the church, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers leaving the church, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her experience at the State University of New York at Buffalo

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers working for General Electric

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers teaching art at a community program

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls receiving a full scholarship to Queens College in Queens, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her clothing design business

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her opposition to the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers the March on Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her admission to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her studies at Queens College in Queens, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers the assassination of Malcolm X

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls how activism informed her artwork, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls how activism informed her artwork, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about activist art groups

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about the National Conference of Artists

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls the founders of the National Conference of Artists

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers her Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge fellowship

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her graduation from Queens College in Queens, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her Horizon Fellowship to John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her political activism at John Hopkins University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls discrimination at Johns Hopkins University, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls discrimination at Johns Hopkins University, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls the challenges she faced to obtain a Ph.D. degree

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about her dissertation, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about her dissertation, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls experiencing sexual harassment at Johns Hopkins University

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls obtaining her position at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her deanship at Maryland Institute College of Art

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her fellowship program for artists of color

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about discrimination in the art field, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about discrimination in the art field, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her writing process for her publications

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about the representation of black artists in education

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls curating 'Black Printmakers and the WPA'

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls curating 'Art as a Verb'

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers her search for a white rooster, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers her search for a white rooster, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond reflects upon her personal life

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond remembers her exhibit, 'Three Generations of African American Women Sculptors'

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her research for 'Three Generations of African American Women Sculptors'

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond describes the challenges faced by female artists

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her installation, 'Barbadian Spirits'

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond describes the development of her artwork

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about Seneca Village in New York City

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond reflects upon New York City's slave history

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her collaboration with Jose J. Mapily, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her collaboration with Jose J. Mapily, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her research on Seneca Village in New York City

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Leslie King-Hammond recalls her exhibit, 'Agents of Change: Women, Art and Intellect'

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about her home in Baltimore, Maryland

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Leslie King-Hammond describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Leslie King-Hammond reflects upon her life

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Leslie King-Hammond reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about her sons, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Leslie King-Hammond talks about her sons, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Leslie King-Hammond describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

10$4

DATitle
Leslie King-Hammond recalls her early interest in art
Leslie King-Hammond recalls discrimination at Johns Hopkins University, pt. 1
Transcript
When did you discover your artistic talent?$$Oh, I, I knew early on that I was, I had a predisposition for art, that I, that I loved to make things. That I just was impassioned with art. I was also extremely curious which I think made my mother [Evelyne Maxwell King] uncomfortable about the whole idea of how does an artist become an artist. Because I was also impassioned with the fact that my childhood was not normal because periodically I would have to have eyes made for me. And, so, when I was growing up, I had to go to a glass blowers which was a very old world tradition. Now they make them out of synthetics and plastics and whatever. But, at the time, I would have to sit with this, this master who would literally blow these glass bubbles. And, I can remember vividly being so mesmerized by the process of how he would craft from this bubble of molten glass, this incredible delicate eye that I would have to wear. You know, I didn't really care that I was wearing an artificial eye. I just wanted to go and watch him make eyes, okay. I was just curious. And, so, I would ask my mother questions like, "How did he learn to do that?" Or, "Are people with handicaps and challenges more predisposed to have these artistic talents?" And, since she was in medicine, it was kind of disconcerting for her, her to have to answer these kinds of questions 'cause she hadn't thought about it in that way because she was being the overprotective mother. But, as I began to increasingly read, because she would get nursing journals and medical journals just to keep up with the field, so I would read them. And, I would find the articles and variably about research that was done on people with different kinds of challenges and how, what happens with the body when one area is compromised the other area, another area will compensate. Well, that's that left brain, right brain thing. And, so what happens is, is that, you know, the left brain which organizes and keeps everything structurally in place, you understand, when it gets damaged or that sector of the body get damaged it responds to the left brain. This right brain thing kicks in and you have this enormous capacity that begins to compensate for the loss that's on the left side. And, I began to understand it more when I finally went to college [Queens College, Queens, New York] and I had a professor, a painting professor, who explained to me exactly what was happening. Because at one point I went to him because I was taking color theory class and he was making us go through various exercises of color compass- comparisons and intensities. And, I went to him, not knowing, because it had not been explained to me, and I said to him, "I have singular vision and I'm not sure that I'm gonna be able to respond to these problems." And, he looked at me, he says, "I know." And, I said, "How do you know?" He said, "Because you're the only one in the class who can really see what I'm teaching." He said, "Because you have singular vision," he said, "your depth perception cannot be based on a black to white to grey scale." He says, "You have to use color." He says, "You've been using color for so long to measure distances." That means, how to step up on a high plane. How to navigate through shadows. He said, he says, "You're so ultra-sensitive to color," he says, "every problem you do," he say, "you can't fail because you've already mastered it unconsciously." He said, "This is the first time, you've probably been able to talk about it with somebody who understands the dynamics of it." After that, it was like, bam (claps hands), somebody finally told me, broke the key, the magic box was open, I went "Yes, okay, (makes noise)." And, after I got that piece of information I could, you know, I was, I was cool. I was just cool.$So I had to walk into the department chair's office and ask her point blank, "Why is it that I was not informed of my status when I was really moved into a position to take this exam without proper preparation?" And, that I knew that in twenty-four hours, they knew who passed the exams. And, she told me that, "Well, Leslie [HistoryMaker Leslie King-Hammond] the committee's decided that, yes, you passed," and she said under her breath, "You passed very well." She wouldn't look me in the eyes. She just said, "You passed very well." And, I'm just sitting there looking at her, and I said, "And?" She said, "But, it's the decision of the committee that you're extremely talented and you can do whatever you wanna do and you don't really need a doctorate to go any further." And, I said, "Oh, really." I said, "And, how did you come up with that?" "Well, we really don't have any more money in your fellowship package and, you know, if you can come up with the money we might entertain you coming back in the fall." I said, "Might entertain?" I said, "I'm not making any sense of this at all." She says, "Well, I'm just doing this, you know, as a maternal thing for your, for your own good." So, that's when it just hit me and I just sort of went politely ballistic and I said, this is Dr. Phoebe Stanton [Phoebe Baroody Stanton], I said, "Dr. Stanton, please be advised that I have a very good black mother [Evelyne Maxwell King] in New York [New York], who really talks very much like you and wants me to leave here because this has not been a kind or friendly place to study. However, I do believe that I had to sign a letter of contractual agreement and return it to your office, to this office at Johns Hopkins [Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland], indicating that I accept the terms of this fellowship. So, as far as I'm concerned, it's on me whether and when I terminate this relationship." Well, she was absolutely undone. She was livid. And, I said, "I have no doubt that you will be hearing from me again. Because I will be back in the fall. And, I will seek to resolve this." And, I walked up out of the office. I walked straight across campus to the president's office, and I walked in and I said to his executive assistant, and he had just been hired. This new African American administrator who was gonna oversee Hopkins Hospital [The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland] and Hopkins' Homewood Campus, I said, "My name is Leslie King. I have just been thrown out of the art history department after passing my doctoral exams, with flying colors, and I am told that I am too talented and that I don't need this degree. I wanna see the president now."