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Michael Bieze

artist, was born in Colquitt County, Georgia, son of John Henry Adams, a former slave and preacher in the Methodist Church, and Mittie Rouse. Many questions surround Adams's early life. While he reported in an Atlanta Constitution article (23 June 1902) that he came from a humble background, his father served parishes throughout Georgia. According to the History of the American Negro and His Institutions (1917), Adams Sr. was a man of accomplishment, leading black Georgians in a colony in Liberia for two years and receiving two honorary doctorates, from Bethany College and Morris Brown University. Educated in Atlanta schools, Adams claimed in the Atlanta Constitution article to have traveled to Philadelphia in the late 1890s to take art classes at the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry (later Drexel University). Drexel, established in 1891 opened its doors to a diverse student ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Gregory Eiselein

In his third-person autobiography, From the Virginia Plantation to the National Capitol (1894), John Mercer Langston recounts his career as one of the most influential African American leaders of the nineteenth century. Born in Virginia and educated at Oberlin, Langston became in 1854 the first African American admitted to the Ohio bar and in 1855 the first elected to public office in the United States (town clerk of Brownhelm, Ohio). Throughout the 1850s he worked within antislavery and civil rights movements, advocating a nationalist, pro-emigration position before becoming a Republican party activist. Heading recruitment of African American soldiers in the West during the Civil War, he rose to national prominence after the war as the president of the National Equal Rights League (a forerunner of the NAACP), an educational inspector for the Freedmen's Bureau, and a Republican party organizer. In 1868 he accepted a professorship at Howard ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Constance Porter Uzelac

painter, art historian, and writer, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of John Porter, a Methodist minister, and Lydia Peck, a schoolteacher. The youngest of seven siblings, he attended the public schools in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and graduated cum laude from Howard University in 1927 with a bachelor of science in Art. That same year Howard appointed him instructor in art in the School of Applied Sciences. In December 1929 he married Dorothy Louise Burnett of Montclair, New Jersey; they had one daughter.

In 1929 Porter studied at the Art Students League of New York under Dimitri Romanovsky and George Bridgeman. In August 1935 he received the certificat de présence from the Institut d'Art et Archéologie, University of Paris, and in 1937 he received a master of arts in Art History from New York University, Fine Arts Graduate Center.

Porter first exhibited ...

Article

Aaron Myers

During a lifetime that spanned the abolition movement, the emancipation of the slaves, and the beginning of modernization in Brazil, Manoel Raimundo Querino distinguished himself as an artist, teacher, social activist, and above all, historian. He was born free one year after the abolition of the slave trade in Brazil. In 1855, a cholera epidemic swept Bahia claiming the lives of some 30,000 people, including Querino's parents. He was then sent to the state capital, Salvador, where Manuel Correira Garcia, a state deputy and a professor in the state teacher training institute, became his guardian. Garcia provided the orphan Querino with an education, which at that time was a privilege enjoyed by few Brazilians—black or white. At the age of seventeen, Querino enlisted in the army and served from 1868 to 1871, during the latter part of the Paraguayan War.

Querino s career as an ...

Article

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

Wangari wa Nyatetũ-Waigwa

Ivorian writer, painter, illustrator, and academic, was born in Paris, France, in 1955 to a French mother and an Ivorian father. She grew up in Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast, and studied literature at the National University of Abidjan, earning a BA in English. She read a great deal of French poetry, including much by the poets of Négritude, whose “political commitment and lyricism” she found compelling. Tadjo acknowledges that these early readings exercised a profound influence on her own writing, and she tries “to retain this element of political commitment,” while not losing sight of the literary dimension. Her own approach lays emphasis on a “sense of responsibility,” thereby placing her among the new African writers who steer away from the culture of victimization and blame.

Discovering that the Négritude writers had been greatly influenced by the Harlem Renaissance she developed an interest in that movement subsequently ...

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 ...