During the 1960s, 70s and 80s although doodling, coloring and painting through-out childhood offered pleasant gratification, a more serious interest wasn't particularly gained until the early 1990s. As an adult, my first mural was on the bedroom wall in Pembroke Pines, Florida a scene called Eleuthera, Bahamas. Other paintings were on tables and chairs. Born in Virginia, raised in Miami's Historic Over-Town, Fort Pierce, Florida was my second home since childhood. Our family's roots begin in a place we call home, the southern state of Florida in the northern city of Tallahassee. Raised by a single mother and grandmother, they were both multi-talented. Grandmother, Ida Mae Francis Black was an artist herself, she had the gift from God. A multiracial heritage of white, black and Seminole. Her grand-ma D-Eye raised her and helped her raise her children was a full-blood Seminole Indian. Part of the story told is D-Eye would move her jet black hair to the side, just to keep from sitting on it, a known commonality among Indians.

Grandmother married German Jones, and they were very much in love. Grandfather was a young man but one day, while on his way to work he suddenly fell dead with a heart attack. Her first heartbreak, grandmother knew there would never be another quite like him. Her white blood-line gene was strong, her long black hair and white skin dominated her appearance as white. As a child, growing-up with grandmother, the color of her skin never dawned on me' and I never realized she was anything other than my grandmother, whom I loved dearly.

Grandmother was born in Tallahassee in 1914. During the early 1940s, she raised six mixed children. One day, she and her siblings were forced to leave their home, by the KKK. The proud loving mother was threatened and for the protection of her multiracial family relocated. Three daughters mixed with Indian and black, one daughter dominated the black gene, one white son and one black son. Her kids took on her heritage and each of her traits. During the 1930s and '40s mixing the races placed her in violation of the Jim Crow Law's, and raising a family of six on her own made life not only difficult but dangerous.

As kids grandmother, asked us to paint her statues of Mother Mary, and two soldiers, she said they represented her two sons. It was the beginning of other projects she would ask us to paint. Her white son was left living in Rochester NY, with a white a family, never to be seen again. Her black son, Spec 4 Paul Jones was killed in Vietnam action three weeks before he was to return home, never saw his 21st birthday.

Summer vacations were spent in Fort Pierce Florida, 2513 avenue J, with auntie and uncle. A long-time respected member of the community, my uncle owned a stucco business. In the ’60s, attending fourth grade at Means Court Elementary, while living with a second aunt and uncle, was a different experience than Miami.

Although the Highwaymen did not receive fame until the 1990s, during the ’60s, uncle supported the young black artists by purchasing a collection of their art. Harold Newton on black velvet, Alfred Hair, Livingston Roberts and Mary-Ann Carroll who traded her art for uncle's stucco services. Raised with Highwaymen art, uncle Alfred offered my first childhood introduction, each summer vacation was spent in Fort Pierce.

A destiny that seemed to be all in God’s plan, lead to a life-changing career. On long hot summer days, I was drawn to the vivid colors and imagined myself in the paintings which told stories of life growing up in the deep south.

Within the family history, there are empty spaces of long lost bloodline relatives, who we know to exist or existed but lost connections. A host of dynamics are reasons why many were never connected. The family names are Black, Williams, and Jones. It is a struggle to discover family roots but crucial to complete the family tree.

Years later, grandmother stopped traveling the roads of Florida. She and part of her family settled in Fort, Pierce Florida, and later she and a few siblings moved deeper south and settled in Over-town Miami and several surrounding areas.

As a Blue Star mother of two, who fought and served Iraq and Korea, we are a Gold Star family. Rooted in a long line of soldiers over decades our family has served the United States Army, Air Force, and Marines. To those who lost their lives, a hero is remembered!


Florida Highwaymen artists Al Black, AJ Brown, and Carnell Smith are members of the City of Fort Pierce Highwaymen Trail

2009 AJ Brown, AL "Blood" Black & Carnell "Pete" Smith

Original Highwaymen Artist Johnny Daniels is a member of the Fort Pierce Florida Highwaymen Trail

AJ Brown & Johnny Daniels Grave-site Monument

Original Sylvester Wells, Historic 2nd Generation Roy McLendon and A J Brown

Florida Highwaymen Exhibition Opening Night Gala a Big Hit

A J Brown is a member of the Fort Pierce Highwaymen Trail

2009 Alzheimer's fundraiser A J donates her finest work: 2011 early morning sail

2008 Original Highwaymen and Historic AJ Brown are a part of the Fort Pierce, Florida Highwaymen Trail

2008 Roy McLendon Sr. visits Johnny Daniels and AJ Brown

The Only Original Female and Historic Highwaymen AJ Brown are a part of the Fort Pierce, Florida Highwaymen Trail

2009 AJ Brown 2nd Gen and Ms First Lady MaryAnn Carroll

Historic 2nd Generation Highwaymen women of Fort Pierce, Florida

2009 Diane Roberts, Gertrude Walker, AJ Brown 2nd Gen Highway-women

All are members of the Highwaymen Trail and Fort Pierce Tours

2009 Alzheimer’s Fundraiser
Ms First Lady MaryAnn Carroll, Richard Edwards, AJ Brown

Gallery Art

2nd generation A J Brown a member of the highwaymen trail

“Primitive Poinciana” by A J Brown

Paintings by 2nd generation A J Brown a member of the Highwaymen Trail

“Stormy Palms” by A J Brown

The Highwaymen Trail, a significant part of Highwaymen history

“Picking’ Oranges” by A J Brown

A J Brown is a member of the fort pierce Highwaymen trail

“Moonlite Over Rivers Edge” by A J Brown

fort pierce tours

“Docks by Poinciana Palms” by A J Brown

fort pierce tours

“Tangerine Skies” by A J Brown

a member of fort pierce tours

“Poinciana Curve” by A J Brown

Fort Pierce Florida Highwaymen Trail