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Ingrid Schorr

visionary and folk artist, was born in Elloree, South Carolina, to an itinerant minister father, also named James, who abandoned the family when Hampton was young, and a mother whose name is unknown. Indeed, as is the case with many visionary or outsider artists, little is known about Hampton himself. He left the rural South around 1931 to join his older brother, Lee, in Washington, D.C., where fully half of the newly arrived black residents also came from South Carolina. Hampton worked as a short-order cook until he was drafted into the army in 1943 as a noncombatant. He served in with the 385th Aviation Squadron in Texas, Hawaii, and in Saipan and Guam, and upon his discharge in 1945 he returned to Washington. In 1946 he found employment with the General Services Administration as a night janitor He lived in the Shaw neighborhood named after a ...

Article

Shirley M. Carr Clowney

self-taught folk artist, was born Bessie Ruth White in Dallas, Georgia, the seventh of thirteen children of Homer White, a chef and a barber, and Rosa White, a seamstress. Harvey's father died when she was young, and her mother became an alcoholic. She quit school after the fourth grade to help care for her siblings. As a young child she learned how to make “something out of nothing” (Harvey). For example, she would make a car out of a box and tin cans and then pretend to go places in it. Harvey married at age fourteen, but after experiencing marital difficulties, she left her husband and moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. Later, the family moved to Alcoa, Tennessee.

The self-taught, visionary Christian artist began sculpting in 1974 at the age of forty five Harvey had no formal training as an artist but she intuitively created spirit figures ...

Article

Anne Hudson Jones

“If Jimmy Carter wants to see me, he knows where I am. He can come here.” This reply to President Carter’s invitation that she come to Washington for the opening of an exhibition of her work is vintage Clementine Hunter. Her disregard for fame and the famous was part of her special charm and did not change, even after she became known worldwide for her colorful folk paintings of black life in the Cane River region of northern Louisiana.

Hunter was born on Hidden Hill Plantation, near Cloutierville, Louisiana. Her mother, Mary Antoinette Adams, was the daughter of a slave who was brought to Louisiana from Virginia. Her father, John Reuben had an Irish father and a Native American mother Hunter considered herself a Creole When she was a teenager she moved with her family from Hidden Hill to Yucca Plantation which was renamed Melrose seventeen miles ...

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Clementine Clemence Rubin Hunter was born on a cotton plantation in Clourtierville, Louisiana, to Mary Antoinette Adams, a woman of Virginia slave ancestry, and Janvier (John) Reuben, a man of Native American and Irish descent. She moved with her family from Hidden Hill to Melrose Plantation (formerly Yucca), near Natchitoches, Louisiana, while she was in her early teens. She remained at Melrose, first as a cotton picker, then as the plantation cook until 1970.

Hunter had two children with Charles Dupree, Joseph and Cora. Dupree died in 1914, and Hunter married Emanuel Hunter in 1924. She bore five more children: Mary, Agnes, King, and two who died at birth. A widow by 1944, Clementine Hunter died at the age of 101 a few miles from Melrose, having outlived all of her children.

Hunter became a celebrated folk artist for her paintings of ...

Article

Kyra E. Hicks

one of America's most prominent quilters and African American quilt history advocates, was born Carolyn Stewart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Edward Stewart, a chemical engineer, and Thelma Stewart, a librarian. The eldest of four children, she earned her undergraduate degree in 1977 at Northrop University in Inglewood, California. In 1984 she received her PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. As a child, her favorite aunt encouraged Mazloomi's fascination with airplanes and flying. She became a licensed pilot in 1974 and retired from a career as an aerospace engineer and Federal Aviation Administration crash site investigator. Mazloomi and her husband, Rezvan, married in 1975 and resided in West Chester, Ohio. They had three children, Damian Patrick, Farzad, and Farhad.

Mazloomi taught herself to quilt after seeing a traditional patchwork quilt with American eagles in each corner at ...

Article

folk artist, community activist, and Mardi Gras Indian leader, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Alfred Montana, “Big Chief” of the Yellow Pocahontas, a leading Mardi Gras Indian organization, and Alice Herrere Montana, both natives of New Orleans. When he was young, one of his cousins nicknamed him Tootie, and the name stuck. Masking as Mardi Gras Indians ran deep in the Montana family. Tootie was a third-generation black Indian leader. His great-uncle Becate Batiste was the legendary founding Big Chief of the Creole Wild West, the city's first and oldest masking Indian society; his father Alfred Montana was a famous leader of the Yellow Pocahontas, which was an offshoot of the Creole Wild West; but Tootie eventually surpassed both by far in terms of craftsmanship, influence, and fame.

The Mardi Gras Indian culture developed as an expression of black resistance ...

Article

Born in Lafayette, Alabama, Sister Gertrude Morgan became an evangelist and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1939. She took the title “Sister” in the 1950s when, with two other street missionaries, she founded a church and an orphanage.

Morgan began painting in 1956, concentrating primarily on religious visions and biblical scenes. She believed that she was mystically married to Jesus Christ which she symbolized by dressing entirely in white Her paintings frequently depicted her with Jesus as bride and groom often with herself in black before and in white after the marriage As a street preacher Morgan eschewed the formal art world preferring to make folk art with any material at hand including Styrofoam cardboard lamp shades and jelly jars Her work frequently includes calligraphy which communicates a spiritual message or a biblical verse All her inspiration she felt came from God saying He moves ...

Article

Todd Palmer

artist, was born to Joshua Ruley and Eudora Robinson in Norwich, Connecticut. Ruley's father found refuge in the North after escaping from slavery as a stowaway on a coal ship leaving Wilmington, Delaware. Ruley, the eldest of five boys, ended his schooling in the third grade and followed his father into work at coalyards and construction sites. He continued to work as a laborer into his adulthood. From a brief marriage that ended in 1925 with Ida Bee, he had one daughter, Marion.

In 1929 a lumber truck hit Ruley and a coworker as they drove from a construction site, and he suffered serious head injuries. He received $25,000 in a court-ordered insurance settlement as compensation in 1932 The unexpected change of circumstance allowed Ruley a few extravagances brass beds a new phonograph and a sporty new green Chevrolet that his family would dub the Green ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

who attracted considerable attention from collectors starting in the 1980s, after a lifetime of agricultural and domestic labor, may have been born in Brookhaven, Mississippi, but spent most of her life in nearby Martinsville and Hazlehurst. All three communities are along Highway 51 as it runs through Lincoln and Copiah counties. As with many people who live most of their life in obscurity, her family tree has not been thoroughly documented.

Tillman is a common name in Copiah County, both among people designated by law and culture as “black” and those who choose to think of themselves as “white.” Based on interviews by art curator and collector William Arnett between 1986 and 1995 with Smith a sister and her only son she was the third of thirteen children All children contributed to the family economy by raising cabbage tomatoes and beans initially sharecropping but eventually buying their own land ...