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Theresa Leininger-Miller

writer and artist, was born in Giddings, Texas, the daughter of Joshua Robin Bennett and Mayme F. Abernathy, teachers on an Indian reservation. In 1906 the family moved to Washington, D.C., where Gwendolyn's father studied law and her mother worked as a manicurist and hairdresser. When her parents divorced, her mother won custody, but her father kidnapped the seven-year-old Gwendolyn. The two, with Gwendolyn's stepmother, lived in hiding in various towns along the East Coast and in Pennsylvania before finally settling in New York.

At Brooklyn's Girls' High (1918–1921) Bennett participated in the drama and literary societies—the first African American to do so—and won first place in an art contest. She attended fine arts classes at Columbia University (1921) and the Pratt Institute, from which she graduated in 1924 While she was still an undergraduate her poems Nocturne and Heritage were published in ...

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Pamela Lee Gray

dancer, painter, choreographer, actor, author, photographer, director, musician, and costume and set designer, was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He was one of four children of middle-class parents of Irish, French, and African descent.

Holder was educated at Queen's Royal College in Port of Spain. His grandfather, Louis Ephraim, was a French painter whose influence led both Holder and his older brother Boscoe to begin experimenting with oils Geoffrey began teaching himself to paint at age fifteen when he was forced to stay home from school due to a prolonged illness He also learned much from Boscoe who was a pianist painter and dancer When Boscoe moved to England Geoffrey took over as director of his brother s dance company while continuing to create new paintings and display work at gallery exhibitions Holder s work was displayed at ...

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Shanna L. Smith

poet, dramatist, and artist, was born Estella Marie Conwill in Louisville, Kentucky, the only daughter of the six children of Mary Luella (Herndon) and Adolph Conwill, of whom little else is known. Growing up during the 1950s civil rights era had a profound impact on the burgeoning writer. Struggling to articulate radical changes in her segregated Louisville community and to explain those changes as one of a handful of blacks in a local Catholic school honed her particular and peculiar voice. Language, ideas, and the spoken word titillated her passion for storytelling. In 1980 that singleness of vision led her to be among the first scholars to earn a doctorate in African American literature from the University of Iowa and to pen several books, including Come Out the Wilderness: Memoir of a Black Woman Artist (1999).

An early portion of her memoir related her ...

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crystal am nelson

photographer, painter, and writer, was born in Southern Pines, North Carolina, to a domestic worker and a musician. Marshall-Linnemeier began painting as a child; though her father was an amateur photographer, she did not pick up the camera until she was in her early thirties. After attending Spelman College, Marshall-Linnemeier transferred to the Atlanta College of Art, the Southeast's oldest private college of art. The year before she graduated Marshall-Linnemeier worked with Jackson State University, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University on a collaborative project titled Mississippi Self-Portrait. For this, she traveled throughout Mississippi to gather photographs and narratives from local families in order to create a visual archive of southern, black histories. In 1990 Marshall Linnemeier graduated with honors a BFA in Photography and a personally invented medium she ...

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Kim Jenice Dillon

Known for his books for children, John Shearer was born and raised in New York City and attended Rochester Institute of Technology and School of Visual Arts. In 1970, he became staff photographer for Look and Life, and contributed photographs to other national magazines, including Popular Photography and Infinity.

Shearer entered the field of children's and young adult literature with I Wish I Had an Afro (1970), a nonfiction essay exploring the challenges of rearing an African American boy in poverty. Shearer's black-and-white photographs contribute to the intense depiction of an urban family's struggle against ignorance, gangs, and drugs. Shearer's talent for illustrating narratives of childhood experience is seen also in Little Man in the Family (1972 a double photographic essay exploring the lives of two boys from differing racial and class backgrounds Louis Berrios is Puerto Rican and lives in a New ...

Article

Michael Collins

Alfred B. Spellman has cut a wide swath in the world of the arts as a music critic, poet, administrator, and educator. “It's a function of social consciousness,” he said in a 1992 interview (Dance/USA Journal, Winter 1992), “to provide art, strong art.” The creation, identification, and support of “strong art” have been the alternating currents of Spellman's career, whose highlights include the publication of his book of poems, The Beautiful Days, in 1965, the appearance of his classic Black Music: Four Lives (as Four Lives in the BeBop Business) in 1966, and his two decades of service at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

One of two sons of the schoolteachers Alfred and Rosa Bailey Spellman, Alfred B. Spellman was born 12 August 1935 in his grandmother s house in Nixonton a hamlet outside Elizabeth City North Carolina Perhaps ...

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Kristina D. Bobo

autobiographer, poet, artist, and activist, was born John Peter Thomas in New York City's Harlem Hospital in 1928. His mother, Dolores Montañez, came to New York from Puerto Rico. His father, Juan Tomás de la Cruz, was a Cuban-born laborer who had also moved to the United States from Puerto Rico. Piri Thomas was the eldest of their four surviving children. “Piri” was a nickname given to him by his mother.

The Thomas family was very poor throughout his childhood He spent his early years in poverty stricken ethnically diverse Depression era Harlem When he was thirteen years old his father hit the numbers and moved the family to Babylon Long Island The very dark skinned Thomas suffered so much from racial discrimination and feelings of displacement in suburbia that he left his family moved back to Harlem and began living on the ...

Article

Donna M. Wells

Deborah Willis-Kennedy has successfully pursued a dual professional career. First an accomplished art photographer, she later became the nation’s leading historian of African American photography. Since the 1980s her investigation and recovery of the rich legacy of African American photography have provided an invaluable and irreplaceable resource for filling the gap in American historiography. She has curated numerous exhibitions, lectured, and published widely the contributions of African Americans to contemporary and historical photography.

Deborah Willis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to an industrious and entrepreneurial family. Thomas Meridith Willis was born in Orange County, Virginia, and moved to Philadelphia as a teenager. He was a tailor, owned a grocery store in North Philadelphia, and was a policeman in Philadelphia for twenty-five years. Her mother, Ruth Holman was born in Philadelphia and owned her own hair salon Willis attended Walton Elementary and Roosevelt Junior High School She graduated with ...