Hall of Fame Original Florida Highwaymen
Fort Pierce, Florida, A Legend of the Road!
Celebrating Black History
Harold Newton was a co-founding member of the Florida Highwaymen. A well-known group of African American landscape artists established a historic art movement in Fort Pierce, Florida. In America, amid the 1950s Civil Rights Movement, the impact of segregation disenfranchised all facets of the black communities.
Harold Newton was influenced, and Alfred Hair was taught by A. E. Backus, a white landscape artist, of Fort Pierce, Florida. With no formal art training, Newton was naturally talented. According to his family, he would study Backus subjects and later painted them by memory. Newton began his painting voyage during the early 1950s, possibly earlier according to his friend Roy McLendon Sr. In 1953, Newton considered his paintings more substantial, and sold his creations accordingly. Newton's impact on the group was significant. His door-to-door sales and on-the-road techniques were highly successful. Harold's unconventional canvas choices were velvet, Upson Board and Masonite. The group adopted his methods to earn their living.
Like his two brothers, Sam and Lemuel, with Harold's skill and quality, his collections sold for exceedingly more than $35 dollars a painting, unlike some of the other Highwaymen. Harold was diverse in a multitude of Florida's distinctive scenic seasons, in all her characteristics, and dramatics. Beautiful coastlines, rivers, backwood sunsets, and black communities are portrayed in his works.
Harold taught Mary Ann Carroll to paint through her observation and practice, the only female Highwaymen of the Original group. Harold was selective, with who painted with him on occasion, Roberts, McLendon, and the Daniels brothers are a few. It was not unusual for Harold to keep to himself, and not mingle with many of the Highwaymen..
Harold Newton was among one of the most accomplished painters of the Florida Highwaymen. Harold's life was cut short at the age of 59 in Vero Beach Florida. He never recovered from a stroke the year before. Harold Newton's grave-site is modest, he was buried at the only African-American cemetery in Gifford, Florida.
Harold Newton enjoyed success in a time of racial segregation. In 2004, Harold Newton and twenty-five colleagues were inducted into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame in Tallahassee Florida. One of many accolades Harold Newton did not live to experience.CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY, THE HIGHWAYMEN HERITAGE TRAIL.