March 21, 2010, CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY
2009-2011 Original Florida Highwaymen List Names of 2nd Generation During 1st Historic 501(c)3
The story began well over fifty years ago, a group of African American young men and one woman would become known as the Florida Original Highwaymen. It started with a vision, black art teacher Zanobia Jefferson introduced her black high school student to a white landscape artist by the name of AE Backus. Backus taught Alfred Hair to paint and influenced Harold Newton an already established artist.
It was the beginning of a movement no one could have foreseen. Backus and Hair's unlikely friendship during the era of segregation was forbidden, blacks and whites were not allowed to mix races. Their vision influenced "friends and family, blood and non-blood," and grew into twenty-six Original Hall of Fame Highwaymen. What started as a way out of poverty turned into a movement during the Jim Crow era of the 1950s.
Early core Original Highwaymen Harold Newton taught Mary Ann Carol to paint and James Gibson was influenced by Alfred Hair. Decades later Gibson became the first Highwaymen, to teach 2nd Generation female AJ Brown, to paint as well as the history of the Highwaymen; prior to introducing her to another early core Original Highwaymen, Johnny Lee Daniels who mentored her. Original Highwaymen Willie Daniels continued to support and teach Brown after the death of his brother Johnny. The Original Highwaymen of the early years played key roles when they established close friends to form the 2nd Generation Highwaymen members. The Original Highwaymen salesman, Al Black was core in these efforts. Just like old times, Al Black sold art by 2nd Gen Highwaymen AJ Brown from the trunk of his car, throughout their travels.
As history repeats itself, the "Second Generation Movement" was established in 1973, but can be traced back to the "Civil Rights Movement" of the 1960s according to Jimmy Stovall and his beginnings; the legend is a milestone reference for the Florida Highwaymen Historic Artists. Just as the Originals were friends, family, blood, and non-blood, the all African American group transcended the 1950s vision and continues the legacy as the "Florida Highwaymen Historic 2nd Generation Movement."
*Alfred Hair: known as one of the leaders, Hair died in 1970 at age 29; In 2009 after forty years, widow Doretha Hair Truesdell occasionally attended board meetings. In 2011, after retirement, she joined the Highwaymen group as an official artist; their son Roderick Hair joined to paint as well. Alfred Hair's legacy is also promoted by Kelvin Hair. These members offer a significant history and representation to Hair's Highwaymen legacy. In the summer of 2011-2012 as an official painter, Doretha toured Florida's art circuit with AJ Brown; Roderick Hair joined on occasion. Gary Monroe, the author of the Highwaymen book, awarded Highwaymen artists AJ Brown and Doretha Hair at the Uptown Art Expo in Orlando Florida.
*Harold Newton forefather: born in 1934, Newton died in 1994, his brothers Lemuel and Sam are originals, Sam does not refer to himself as a Highwaymen; his son Tracy Newton is a painter; none of these painters ever attended meetings.
Roy McLendon Sr.: born in 1932, the legend McLendon holds seniority among the group; served as 2009 board member only during the first historic 501(c)3; his son Roy McLendon Jr., established himself in 1973 and has historically painted for over 40 years; the above image of Roy Jr. is to respect and honor the legend who has earned his place in history. His seniority marked the milestone which established the Florida Highwaymen Historic 2nd Generation; daughter Kay manages her father; his second son Ray McLendon is also a well-known Highwaymen artist.
*Livingston Roberts: born in Elkton Florida, in 1941 Roberts died in 2004; his daughter Diane Roberts painted but hiatus-ed after she married, his sister Gertrude Walker was a member of the 1st By-Laws Committee; brother Francis Roberts, and Nephew Francis Roberts Jr. hiatus-ed.
*James Gibson: 2009 board member, Gibson was born in 1938 and died 8/15/17. In 2005 James Gibson was the first to teach AJ Brown to paint and key in establishing her status as a 2nd generation Highwaymen artist. Brown is the only female taught by Gibson; she refers to herself as Florida Highwaymen Historic Artist AJ Brown.
*Mary Ann Carroll: died December 4, 2019, at age 79; she was the only female of the "Original" group and first historic President of the first historic 501(c)3; she held office from May 2009-2011 "the allotted two years;" she unified and included all 2nd Generation Highwaymen and deligated several official offices.
*Ellis Buckner: Ellis Buckner Jr. paints, *George Buckner: nephew Ellis Buckner Jr.
*Hezekiah Baker: Brother Lee Drake/business manager/officer
Willie Daniels: no attendance, In support of female AJ Brown, Willie continued to paint with her. At age nine, Brown taught her granddaughter “Salsa” to paint. At age ten, with the teachings of Willie Daniels, Salsa became a member of the 4th generation. Willie Daniels has a legacy.
*Johnny Lee "Hook" Daniels: Johnny died on Tuesday, 05/26/09, he taught four men and one female to paint. Jimmy Stovall was a by-laws committee member of the 1st 501c3. His twin brother Johnny Stovall was a board member. Kelvin Hair was the 1st spokesman for the group. Johnny and Kelvin were both business partners of Johnny Daniels. Kelvin's childhood friend Richard Edwards was a board member, and the last to receive Daniel's teachings. Female AJ Brown was appointed as the 1st secretary & by-laws committee member; Brown was the last former business partner of Johnny Daniels.
*Rodney Demps: died June 17, 2020, no attendance, no family paints
*Alfonso “Poncho Moran: died 2003, no attendance, no family paints
Curtis Arnett: 2009 1st vice president attendance occasionally, no family paints
Al "Blood" Black: 2009 attended board member; 2011 elected vice president; in 2016 assumed the 3rd presidency, after the death of president Carnell Smith on 12/15/15; son, Marcus Oliver paints in 2011 off/on, no attendance. Al Black was key, in the establishment of AJ Brown as a 2nd Generation member.
Isaac Knight: 2009 board member, his wife Lilly is his manager., and was the 1st by-laws committee member; their son does not paint, brother-in-law to Al Black; In 2014, Mr. Knight taught his granddaughter, Desiree Knight to paint.
Sylvester M. Wells: 2009 attended board members, inactive due to loss of eyesight; *wife Mrs. Clezell Wells painted some backgrounds.
*John Maynor: 2009 attended board member; born in Springfield, GA on June 19, 1948, Maynor died on Tuesday 02/02/16 at age 67 in Fort Pierce, Florida; his son does not paint. Initially, Mayor's son authorized Brown to construct Mayor's gravesite monument.
*Charles” Chico” Wheeler: died 07/12/19 age 73, no attendance, no family paints
*Carnell “Pete” Smith: 2009 board member; his sister Doretha Hair Truesdell occasionally attended meetings. In the summer of 2011 Smith was elected president of the second 501(c)3; Smith appointed his sister, secretary. In 2011, after a 40-year retirement, Doretha joined the group to paint as an artist. Smith held office until he died 12/15/15, past the allotted time. No official voting elections were held after Smith's death. In 2017, Doretha Hair, "not an Original Highwaymen," assumed the position of president. The office of power is designated for members of the "Original Highwaymen," for a term of two years. The dynamics of the second 501(c)3 remain highly controversial, non-traditional, and exceeds the terms of the written by-laws in 2009. Unlike the first 501(c)3, for reasons unknown the second 501c3 excluded members of the "Original Highwaymen Hall of Fame Johnny Daniels 2nd Generation Artists."
Charles Walker: 2009 board member, wife Gertrude manages her husband and served as a By-Laws Committee member.
*Robert Butler of Lakeland Florida: attended meetings when possible, Mr. Butler owned multiple galleries and was initially an Okeechobee artist who did not paint as a Highwaymen; he died on 3/19/14: sons Robert Butler Jr., Daniel, David, Samuel, Timothy, Michael, and daughters: Dorene, Aletha, Angela are all artists.
R. L. Lewis, JR.: 2009 elected secretary but delegated his position to AJ Brown she was appointed and authorized as the 1st official secretarial; son Robert Lewis, III is his father's manager, both sons are 2nd generation members.
Willie Reagan: 2009 board member, wife Don manager, no family paints
Norman Wright: 2009 board member; Wright has historically painted since 1974 and over decades struggled to build his legacy; as a former brother-in-law to Al Black, Wright is one of the Highwaymen who can still be found roadside painting; King's Highway south of Orange Avenue and US Highway One south of Orange Avenue; the above image of Wright is intended to respect and honor the legend who painted over the decades and has earned his place in history.
*indicates deceased members
Together we are our best, Thank you, America, for treating all our generations as worthy!
March 2010 documented, recorded & updated: By 1st endorsed Highwaymen Secretary and By-Laws Committee Member AJ Brown of the 1st Historic 501(c)3 Organization of 2009-2011. As of December 2017, no official group 501(c)3 exists today. The Florida Highwaymen Historic Artists listed are respectfully and simply intended to include all members. Years of hard work and dedication builds history and honors the iconic Original Highwaymen.
Fort Pierce, Florida
Historic 2nd Generation
- Roy McLendon Jr.
- Norman Wright
- Tracy Newton
- Jimmy Stovall
- Johnny Stovall
- Ray McLendon
- Ellis Buckner Jr
- Robert Lewis lll
- Kelvin Hair
- A J Brown
- Richard Edwards widow of Alfred Hair
- Doretha Hair
- Roderick Hair Hiatus
- Diane Roberts Lakeland, Florida
- Robert Butler Jr.
- Daniel Butler
- Dorene Butler
- David Butler
- Samuel Butler
- Timothy Butler
- *Michael Butler
- Aletha Butler
- Angela Bulter Fourth Generation
- Desiree Knight
- Salsa / Daniels/Brown