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Cynthia Hawkins

painter and cofounder of New York City's Kenkeleba House, was born in Conehatta, Mississippi, to Cleo Huddleston, an entrepreneur and author, and Joe Overstreet, a mason. He was the second of three children. His oldest sibling, La Verda O. Allen, owned a construction management firm, and the youngest, Harry, was an architect. Between 1941 and 1946 the Overstreet family moved five times before finally settling in Berkeley, California. Joe graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1951 and then joined the merchant marine and worked part-time in this capacity from 1951 through 1958. At the same time he also worked as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios.

Overstreet began his art studies in 1951 at Contra Costa College. He established a studio on Grant Avenue in San Francisco, near Sargent Claude Johnson's studio. Mentored by the artists Johnson and Raymond Howell Overstreet ...