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Theresa Leininger-Miller

artist, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of James F. Bell and Susanna County, probably laborers. Little is known about Bell's early life. She presumably attended segregated schools. It is unlikely that she ever received artistic training; she declared that she drew “without human teaching.” She probably worked as a domestic servant, laundress, or seamstress, beginning in her teenage years, and she may have traveled extensively. Bell said she “lived all around” before World War I. Since she does not appear in early-twentieth-century city directories or census records in Washington, D.C., or Boston, Massachusetts, and because she apparently never married or had children, it is likely that she resided with her various employers.

By the mid-1920s Bell was working for Edward Peter Pierce, justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from 1914 to 1937, and Adele Dutaud Pierce his wife as a live ...

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

Thomas N. Whitehead

folk artist, was born Clemence Reuben at Hidden Hill Plantation near Cloutierville, Louisiana, the daughter of John Reuben and Antoinette Adams, plantation workers. Her exact birth date is unknown. Most sources agree that she was born in either late December 1886 or early January 1887.

Leaving Catholic school in Cloutierville at a young age because she disliked the discipline of the nuns, Reuben, now called Clementine, became a cotton picker and field hand at several plantations in the Cloutierville area. In her adolescence her father moved the family to Melrose Plantation, about fifteen miles south of Natchitoches, Louisiana, in the central part of the state.

Melrose Plantation had been established in 1796 by Marie-Therese Coincoin a freed female slave who became one of the most successful plantation and slave owners in the United States After the Civil War ownership of the plantation was transferred to white ...

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 ...

Article

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

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

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 ...