Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Project Runway

As a former scripted television writer and a member of the Writer's Guild I must admit that I loathe reality television (most require the use of eye bleach after watching). However, in a mind boggling reversal, my one guilty pleasure is Lifetime's Project Runway. I mention this because I feel as though I am a member of the cast and the venerable co-host and creative advisor/critic Tim Gunn has just entered the workroom and asked everyone to 'gather round'. As anyone who frequents the show know, this usually indicates that he has a bombshell pronouncement that will fold the already short time allowed on each project before telling them to 'make it work' on his way out the door. I am about to receive one such bombshell announcement from the SOG.

It seems that there is another person that needs to be added to the painting. Her name is Elreta Melton Alexander-Ralston. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from Columbia University School of Law as well as the first African-American lawyer and judge in the state of North Carolina. I would say that qualifies her for inclusion. The painting is definitely male dominated, so the inclusion of another woman is a welcomed sight. Now all I have to do is figure out where to place her. I'm doing this in advance of any official notification as the bulk of the historians have yet to weigh in, but I anticipate their approval. It shouldn't be that much of a problem. It's actually quite a challenge to tell you the truth. I have to readjust my thinking and layout in a few areas but I will make room for her in such a way that it looks as though she was not a last minute addendum. I couldn't stomach that. The only real problem with the judge is the lack of photographs of her. You would think that there would be an abundance of images with her in them, but I have found only two on the web and the State Archives in Raleigh has none! I sent them the best image of her I had for their records and Ann Simpson at the SOG will be looking in UNC's archives for any other images that I can use.

Elreta Melton Alexander-Ralston

The painting will be stronger with her incorporation. I'm going to stay up late tonight and work with the image I have and see if I can sketch out a body on which to place her head that works for different locations in the painting. Give me a couple weeks and I'll post her painting for your approval. "Make it work!"

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