BAIA BITS: William Eduoard Scott
Little Moments Where Knowledge Meets Art
In 1910, after six years of training at the Art Institute of Chicago, 26-year-old William Eduoard Scott left his Indiana home to study in France. Once there, he linked with fellow African American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner at an artists’ colony, the latter having self-exiled from the United States two decades prior as a result of the relentless racial prejudice he encountered. With his Paris residency, Scott studied at the city’s top art academies before earning exhibits at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy in London only three years after leaving the States. Along the way, Tanner prompted Scott’s career-long devotion to depicting the achievements of African Americans in his paintings.
With his newfound success, Scott returned to the United States in 1914 and opened a studio in Chicago. Although abstract art, at the time, had become the rage, Scott maintained his representational style as he eschewed stereotypes to capture the dignity and totality of his African American subjects. In 1915, he travelled south to the Tuskegee Institute upon an invitation from its legendary founder, Booker T. Washington. Scott would subsequently produce a well-received double portrait of Washington and popular scientist and Tuskegee faculty member, George Washington Carver.
In 1927, Scott received a special gold medal for fine arts from the Harmon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Among Negroes awards initiative. In 1931, he earned a Julius Rosenwald Fine Arts Fellowship, which enabled him to study in Haiti. Two years later, during the Great Depression, Scott created a mural for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair while working for the Federal Arts Project Mural and Easel division. Because of his accomplishments and ongoing commitment to promoting dignified Black figures and images, Scott was commonly recognized as the “dean of Negro Artists.”
In 1955, while on a painting expedition in Mexico, Scott’s ongoing battle with diabetes forced his return to Chicago. There, he continued painting until his 1964 death in a nursing home. His works are present in such collections as the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London.
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Stephanie Robinson, Esq. is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, a national media figure, author, former Chief Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and former President and CEO of The Jamestown Project, a national think tank focusing on democracy. Ms. Robinson hosted her own national radio show, Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson, a popular weekly 30-minute, talk-radio program focused on culture, politics, and relationships that aired on TSN. For over half a decade, Ms. Robinson was Political and Social Commentator for the Tom Joyner Morning Show where she spoke to between 9 and 10 million people weekly, offering her perspective on the day’s most pressing social and political issues.
Robinson is co-author of Accountable: Making America as Good as Its Promise, (Atria Books, 2009). She is a nationally recognized expert on issues relating to social policy, women, race, family, and electoral politics. She was featured as one of the 30 Young Leaders of the Future in Ebony Magazine and was profiled in the book As I Am: Young African American Women in a Critical Age, by Julian Okwu. Robinson is a frequent speaker expressing her views in countless media outlets including the Associated Press, The Washington Post, C-Span, Fox News, NewsOne and NPR.
Stephanie was a Member of President Clinton’s first Mission to Africa regarding children orphaned by AIDS. Robinson, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland and the Harvard Law School, is a native of Steubenville, Ohio. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.
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