I am now in the forty fifth year of creating paintings that honor my African and African-American ancestors’ history, ancestry, and legacy in the Lowcountry marshes of South Carolina. I consider myself most fortunate to having been raised in a small rural community that practiced the traditions and many of the customs pertaining to foodways, healthcare, and mores that supported bonding with nuclear and extended families. As a child I was blessed to be tutored by many community elders through the oral traditions and stories and challenges they shared about their lives and trials that they mastered to achieve a sense of purpose, love, and belonging.
When I was in middle school and studied history, it was always focused upon American and Euromerican history but not my history and heritage that I experienced as a child. As I evolved through early adulthood, I came to grasp the realities that one cannot understand American history if you do not learn equally about African history and its peoples’ contributions to America. I was taught from my elders whose ancestors had worked in the South Carolina rice plantations before the Civil War. It became clear to me that the rice culture was a true bridge to Africa that was missing in American history.