(Born 1905, Boston, MA. Died 1998, Washington, DC)
Loïs Mailou Jones wanted to be remembered as an artist, not an African-American or woman artist. Her life spanned almost all of the twentieth century—a time of unprecedented changes in American history—and she was an active participant in the development of African-American influence in the arts. Loïs Mailou Jones was a trailblazer, a respected college professor, an artist ambassador, and an international expert on culture who documented everything she saw and did as a painter in the Harlem Renaissance, as an illustrator for Carter Woodson, a colleague of Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, an educator and mentor, and a champion of black artists in Africa and the Caribbean.
She was one of the longest living artists of the Harlem Renaissance, but is only now being recognized and studied as a trailblazer in the Civil Rights movement. She knew many heads of state personally, painted their official portraits, and received their awards and citations. Today her work is in public buildings, museums and private homes all over the world.