Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Congressional visit

I had an unexpected but most welcomed pair of visitors to the studio this afternoon - Congressman Jim Clyburn and his daughter, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. A mutual friend told Mignon about the painting and she called and asked if they could come by and see it since Rep. Clyburn is a history buff (majored in it). They were in town to pay their respects to a departed friend and running a little later than scheduled, so I assumed they had a change of plans. I cranked the music and went back to the business of painting only to turn around ten minutes later and come face to face with two Secret Service agents. I thought it would be nothing more than a quick election year meet, greet and retreat but he was really interested in the work and stuck around for nearly twenty minutes perusing the entire piece and asked a myriad of questions about many of the subjects.

Congressman Jim Clyburn
I was surprised when he recognized Clarence Lightner in the painting and told me that they had been fraternity brothers - his nickname, 'Baby'. He also knew 'Goldie' Frinks, reminded Mignon of an incident they shared and when I asked if Golden lived up to his moniker 'the Great Agitator', Mr. Clyburn responded with a hearty, "Oh, yeah!" He also knew Ella Baker, Reginald Hawkins, Sr., Kelly Alexander and John Hope Franklin. The two secret service agents got into the groove as well and were not only amused by the prices on the menu held by Annie Holland, but also by the fact that they could actually read the text on the two newspapers. I must say that I was honored that they took time out of their busy schedule to drop by and will invite both to the unveiling.

I am about two days away from completion and am spending the time going over every inch of the piece and making color corrections. I was invited to attend a meeting in Greensboro with Ann Simpson and some personnel at the International Civil Rights Museum on Wednesday to bring them up to speed with the unveiling and solicit their participation.

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