William Elijah Smith – BLACK ART IN AMERICA™

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Karamu Home. Based in 1915, the legendary arts establishment initially referred to as the “Playhouse Settlement” and situated on the intersection of thirty eighth Road and Central Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio would later relocate to East 89th Road and tackle the Swahili title, Karamu, or a “joyful gathering.” Karamu Home is usually acknowledged because the nation’s oldest African American theater.

Within the Nineteen Thirties, amidst the Nice Melancholy, the Playhouse served as a haven for youth of all races in want of stability and creative expression. It was a great place for William Elijah Smith, a struggling African American teen who’d misplaced his mom, was estranged from his father, and lived in abject poverty. Upon assembly Playhouse founders, Rowena and Russell Jelliffe, Smith’s life would change because the couple supported him financially and inspired his creative growth. The teenager quickly found the method of printmaking and started displaying his work on the Cleveland Artists Exhibitions on the Cleveland Museum of Artwork.

William E. Smith, We Shall Overcome, Linocut, framed 20 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (52.1 x 52.1 cm); picture 13 x 13 in. (33.0 x 33.0 cm), Courtesy of William Watson Hines, New York, New York

Alongside together with his ongoing involvement with the Playhouse, Smith studied on the John Huntington Polytechnic Artwork Institute in Cleveland within the late Nineteen Thirties on a five-year scholarship named for well-known Black actor, Charles Gilpin. As a part of Karamu Artists Integrated, Smith and a gaggle of colleagues together with the likes of Hughie Lee-Smith, Fred Carlo, and Elmer W. Brown exhibited their art work in Ohio and throughout the nation. This included a significant debut on January 7, 1942 with Related American Artists in New York the place First Girl Eleanor Roosevelt served because the Honorary Nationwide Chairman.

Throughout World Warfare II, Smith joined the military and is reported to have served with an all-Black regiment that participated within the well-known mission in France referred to as the “Crimson Ball Specific.” In 1944, the soldier-artist participated in a GI artwork contest and received a visit to Paris. At conflict’s finish, Smith enrolled on the Cleveland Faculty of Artwork earlier than relocating to Los Angeles in 1950 to be close to his sister upon the demise of his brother. Whereas working nights within the signal division of Lockheed Plane, he attended the Chouinard Artwork Institute and taught lessons from his studio. Throughout this era, he cofounded the Black Artists’ Gallery, the primary Los Angeles gallery devoted particularly to African American artwork. He exhibited his personal work there after which later by town’s Afro-American Artwork Exhibit and on the Florenz Gallery in Hollywood.

William E. Smith, Fatigue (Poverty and Fatigue), Linocut, framed 17 1/4 x 16 in. (43.8 x 40.6 cm); picture 9 3/4 x 9 in. (24.8 x 22.9 cm), Courtesy of William Watson Hines, New York, New York

In 1960, Smith cofounded Artwork West Related, knowledgeable group of Black artists that promoted their work and affect. Within the Seventies, he revealed illustrations of outstanding figures from African American historical past for Cleveland’s New Day Press. And in 1976, Karamu Home offered a retrospective of Smith’s work, From Umbrella Staves to Brush and Easel.

Although disputed, it’s believed that William Elijah Smith died in 1997. What’s not disputed is his legacy, given his good friend, poet Langston Hughes, as soon as characterised Smith’s artwork because the “humor and pathos of Negro life captured in line and coloration.”

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Stephanie Robinson, Esq. is a Lecturer on Regulation at Harvard Regulation Faculty, a nationwide media determine, creator, former Chief Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and former President and CEO of The Jamestown Undertaking, a nationwide suppose tank specializing in democracy. Ms. Robinson hosted her personal nationwide radio present, Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson, a preferred weekly 30-minute, talk-radio program targeted on tradition, politics, and relationships that aired on TSN. For over half a decade, Ms. Robinson was Political and Social Commentator for the Tom Joyner Morning Present the place she spoke to between 9 and 10 million individuals weekly, providing her perspective on the day’s most urgent social and political points.

Robinson is co-author of Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise, (Atria Books, 2009). She is a nationally acknowledged knowledgeable on points regarding social coverage, ladies, race, household, and electoral politics. She was featured as one of many 30 Younger Leaders of the Future in Ebony Journal and was profiled within the e-book As I Am: Younger African American Girls in a Essential Age, by Julian Okwu. Robinson is a frequent speaker expressing her views in numerous media retailers together with the Related Press, The Washington Put up, C-Span, Fox Information, NewsOne and NPR.

Stephanie was a Member of President Clinton’s first Mission to Africa concerning kids orphaned by AIDS. Robinson, a magna cum laude graduate of the College of Maryland and the Harvard Regulation Faculty, is a local of Steubenville, Ohio. She lives in Massachusetts along with her husband and two sons.

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