March 21, 2010
2009-2011 Original Florida Highwaymen List Names of 2nd Generation During 1st Historic 501(c)3
It all 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 would be the first to teach female AJ Brown 2nd Generation to paint as well as the history of the Highwaymen, before introducing her to another early core Original Highwaymen, Johnny Lee Daniels who mentored her. Original Highwaymen Willie Daniels continued to teach Brown after the death of his brother Johnny. The Original Highwaymen of the early years played key roles when they established close friends as 2nd Generation Highwaymen. An Original Highwaymen and salesman, Al Black was core in these efforts. On numerous occasions, Al Black sold art by AJ Brown from the trunk of his car through their travels, and just like old times.
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: forefather died 1970; In 2009 Doretha Hair Truesdell returned to the group after forty years for occasional board meetings. After her retirement, joined the Highwaymen group full time. Alfred Hair's legacy is promoted by Kelvin and Doretha Hair Truesdell, they offer a significant history to his legacy. The summer of 2011-2012 Doretha toured Florida's art circuit events with AJ Brown as a painter and represented Alfred Hair. Author of the Highwaymen, Gary Monroe awarded Highwaymen artists AJ Brown and Doretha Hair at the Uptown Art Expo in Orlando Florida.
*Harold Newton forefather: Brothers Lemuel and Sam are originals, Sam does not refer himself a Highwaymen; his son Tracy Newton is a painter; none of these painters ever attended meetings.
Roy McLendon Sr.: board member, seniority of the group: son Roy McLendon Jr., established in 1973 is a legend 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 Generation; daughter Kay manages her father; his second son Ray McLendon is also a well-known Highwaymen artist.
*Livingston Roberts: daughter Diane Roberts hiatus-ed, sister Gertrude Walker Gertrude Walker 1st by-laws member; brother Francis Roberts, and Nephew Francis Roberts Jr. hiatus-ed.
*James Gibson: board member died 8/15/17; In 2005 Gibson was the first to teach AJ Brown and key in establishing her status, Brown is the only female taught by Gibson; she refers herself as Florida Highwaymen Historic Artist AJ Brown.
Mary Ann Carroll: the only female of the original group and first historic president of the first historic 501(c)3 held office in May 2009-2011; the 2nd Generation Highwaymen were all included and several held official offices; no family paints.
*Ellis Buckner: Ellis Buckner Jr. paints, *George Buckner: nephew Ellis Buckner Jr.
*Hezekiah Baker: Brother Lee Drake/business manager/officer
Willie Daniels: no attendance, Willie continued support painting with AJ Brown, who taught her granddaughter “Salsa” to paint at age nine and Willie taught her at age ten as a 4th generation member, Willie Daniels leaves a legacy.
*Johnny Lee "Hook" Daniels: before Johnny died 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 who last taught, Kelvin's childhood friend Richard Edwards who was a board member. 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: no attendance, no family paints
*Alfonso “Poncho Moran: died 2003, no attendance, no family paints
Curtis Arnett: 1st vice president attendance occasionally, no family paints
Al "Blood" Black: 2009 attended as a board member; 2011 elected vice president and assumed the role as the 3rd president after the death of president Carnell Smith in 12/15/15. Son, Marcus Oliver paints in 2011 off/on, no attendance. Al Black was key, established AJ Brown as a 2nd Generation member.
Isaac Knight: 2009 board member, his wife Lilly is his manger., 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: attended, lost his eyesight; *wife Mrs. Clezell Wells painted some backgrounds; board members
*John Maynor: died 02/02/16 board member, attended, his son does not paint
Charles” Chico” Wheeler: no attendance, no family paints
*Carnell “Pete” Smith: A 2009 board member; the summer of 2011 Smith became president of the second 501(c)3 and held office until he died 12/15/15. An office of power, designated for a member of the Original Highwaymen, for a term of two years. No official elections were held after Smith's death. His sister, Doretha Hair Truesdell returned to the group after 40 years for occasional 2009 board meetings. She held the secretarial position from 2011-2017 or so. The dynamics of the second 501(c)3 were highly controversial, non-traditional and exceeded terms of the by-laws, of the first 2009, 501(c)3. Unlike the first, the second 501c3 maintained control permanently, denied members of the 2nd Generation their voice, access to meetings, and crucial privileges.
Charles Walker: board member, wife Gertrude managers 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.: was 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: board member, wife Don manager, no family paints
Norman 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 exist 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
- Roy McLendon Jr.
- Norman Wright
- Tracy Newton
- Jimmy Stovall
- Johnny Stovall
- Ray McLendon
- Kelvin Hair
- A J Brown
- Robert Lewis, III
- Richard Edwards
- Ellis Buckner Jr.
- Doretha 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 / Brown