Mary Ann Carroll, 1940-2019, First Lady MaryAnn Carroll has the distinction of being the only female in the Original Highwaymen group. A Hall of Fame Original Florida Highwaymen Artist, a well-known early core legend of her time, she has reigned for nearly sixty years.
Fort Pierce, Florida, is "Home of the Highwaymen," where the movement of twenty-six all men and one female 1950s group of young artists began to paint Florida landscapes. The economic challenge was crucial to their survival during an era when Jim Crow was a reality and segregation was prime.
The group materialized and primarily formed with mostly friends and a few families, which came to be known by one name, the Highwaymen, also known as the Florida Highwaymen. The First Lady MaryAnn Carroll was not traditionally trained but self-taught and counseled by her friend Harold Newton, an early core "Original" one of the co-founders of the group.
The First Lady MaryAnn Carroll is acknowledged for her sixty-year reign and dedicated genre of works for the Highwaymen group. In 2004, she was recognized and inducted into the Museum of Florida's History in Tallahassee, Florida, which included her all-male colleagues.
The Highwaymen set precedence when the 1950s traditional reign ended as an unofficial social group during the summer of 2009.
The First Lady MaryAnn Carroll was elected President of the first historical 501(c)3 Highwaymen organization for a two-year term under the initial By-Laws.
In addition, she endorsed 2nd Generation AJ Brown as the appointed Secretary.
The goal was to establish the first Highwaymen museum that would pay tribute and exclusively showcase the 1950s Original Highwaymen artwork for their lifetime achievements on the road, exemplifying the group's effort and the resourcefulness of twenty-six struggles to fame.
The First Lady MaryAnn Carroll's ideologies and the Original Highwaymen unified, endorsed, collaborated, and supported the 2nd Generation in official offices and as board members. Transcending future generations was essential to the movement of Florida Highwaymen's history.
MaryAnn Carroll's inclusion set a precedence that paved the road for females Diane Roberts, AJ Brown of the 2nd Generation, and Doretha Hair, who returned to the group after 40 years. And, for the first time in Highwaymen's history, three Highwaywomen artists of Fort Pierce, Florida, had a voice.
In 2011, during the First Lady's Luncheon at the Congressional Club in Washington, D.C., MaryAnn Carroll presented one of her paintings to the United States of America's First Historic African American, First Lady Michelle Obama. Highwaymen's history is part of the First Family White House private collection.
Women of color are often stereotyped by assumptions, perceptions, and even defamation, are rarely asked to tell their stories, and seldomly make history. Much has changed for women since her 1950s heyday, but much has not. MaryAnn Carroll was born in a family of sharecroppers; life was anything but easy. The First Lady raised six children on her own; she carried a small pistol for protection when she was on the road selling her art collection.
MaryAnn sometimes feels almost mythical. Yet, her quintessential paintings are essential to serious Highwaymen art collectors. Although her talents were many, with ease, a world-renowned soul or jazz singer was well within her reach; instead, she blessed her audience with her impeccable voice of gossip music, for she was also a pastor.
The history of the Florida Highwaymen is a significant collective part of America's history.
MaryAnn Carroll is a "History Maker" she helped lead the 1950s "Highwaymen Art Movement and Culture" that transcends generations of history.
In 2016, MaryAnn Carroll's work was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C.
Highwaymen's history is an essential collective part of America's art history transcending time.
MaryAnn Carroll is a "History Maker" she helped lead the 1950s art movement into the 21 st century, making Highwaymen art what it is today.
AJ Brown is a Florida Highwaymen Artist who has the distinction as the only 2nd Generation female in the group mentored, endorsed, and supported by four 1950s early core Hall of Fame Original Florida Highwaymen Artists Movement of Fort Pierce, Florida.
In particular, God-uncles Johnny, and Willie Daniels, along with James Gibson and Al Black, are highly honored for the mentorship of Brown's career. "The famed Legends of the Road" handed down her name, their legacy, lineage, culture, and tradition.
Brown's career began in 2005 when the Highwaymen, still an unofficial social group, significantly impacted her life. Brown's existence was handed down from the highest platform and consent of several early core senior "Originals" before the 1st and 2nd 501(c)3 organizations were established, regulated, or reconstructed in 2009 and 2011.
The career of 2nd Generation AJ Brown has expanded for 17 years; she collaborated with both generations as colleagues for nearly two decades on Florida road tours.
The Original Florida Highwaymen was composed of twenty-six friends and family and is united by one name, the Highwaymen, also known as the Florida Highwaymen.
In honor and respect for a 1950s tradition, Brown is hopeful the 2nd Generation is encouraged to unite towards the same goal for the benefit of all, united by one name, the Florida Highwaymen 2nd Generation.
AJ Brown was honored in 2008 when her mentor endorsed her, the Johnny Daniels Highwaymen Art Gallery business partner in Fort Pierce.
In 2009, Brown served alongside former first President MaryAnn Carroll in an office of significance. As the former appointed first Secretary for the first historical 501(c)3 Highwaymen organization Brown was a former member of the By-Laws Committee.
The contributions of AJ Brown include writing the Highwaymen story on one side of the Highwaymen Heritage Trail Obelisk monument in Fort Pierce.
In addition, Brown constructed both gravesite monuments at Pine Grove Cemetery, Fort Pierce, for God-Uncles Johnny in 2009 and Willie Daniels in August 2022, as authorized by designated members of the Daniels family.
AJ Brown's family roots began in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1957, the family moved to the Lincoln Park community in Fort Pierce.
Brown was born in Virginia; during the mid-1960s, she was raised, schooled, and baptized in the Historic Over-Town neighborhood of Miami, Florida.
Brown was a part of the historic movement to segregate schools in the southwest communities of Miami.
Brown's first childhood introduction to Highwaymen art was in Fort Pierce by her uncle Alfred during the 60s, who collected their Florida scenes as young men before fame.
Also, during the 1960s, Brown spent summer vacations and schooled at Means Court Elementary in grade four. As an adult, Fort Pierce became Brown's second home.
From grade school to college, Brown remembers an interest in art. In her adult years, her practice included bedroom walls, tables, and chairs.
On December 25, 2014, Christmas Day, in Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay, the United States of America, First African American President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama invited the United States Military and their families for a meet and greet at the Marine Corp Base.
AJ, a Blue Star mom of a Gold Star family, was invited, where she presented her painting to the First Family, a part of their White House private collection.
A significant part of America's history, Highwaymen History Lives On!
In addition, the Obamas own an exclusive historical collection of Highwaymen's art, courtesy of AJ Brown. A landmark achievement transcends time, as art history is handed down to the next generation and mine.
Today, Brown is a rare find; an unpredictable covid-19 limits her art circuit; she practices her craft from her home studio in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Doretha Hair is a Florida Highwaymen Artist and has the distinction of being the widowed wife of Alfred Hair, an early core Original Highwayman and one of the co-founders of the group. Alfred Hair's well-established legacy is iconic in the art world!
Fort Pierce, Florida, is home to the Highwaymen, a well-known group of African Americans who led the artists' movement of the 1950s.
Twenty-six men and one woman, MaryAnn Carroll, painted undeveloped Florida landscapes of the deep south.
The group materialized and primarily formed with mostly friends and a few families, which came to be known by one name, the Highwaymen or the Florida Highwaymen.
The African-American artist group significantly impacted the State of Florida socially, economically, culturally, and geographically.
As a result, continued education is essential to the nostalgia of Florida's tourist attractions.
In 1970, after Alfred Hair's death, Doretha eventually relocated her family to New Jersey. In 2009, forty years later, Doretha returned to Fort Pierce on visits, where she joined the first initial Highwaymen 501c3 organization as a board member and attended as her schedule permitted. After retirement, Doretha made Fort Pierce her home permanently.
The early summer months of 2011 set new precedence, and the organization transitioned. Doretha's brother, Original Highwayman Carnell "Pete" Smith, was elected President of the second 501(c)3, an office of power and privilege; Doretha became Secretary, and their offices were indefinite.
However, the group dynamics were contentious, and their ideologies of seniority, traditions, and values differentiated from those of the 2009 first 501(c)3 elected President MaryAnn Carroll, who was typically inclusive of the 2nd Generation.
During midst summer months of 2011, Doretha painted with AJ on her back porch, where AJ shared her painting techniques.
As a result, the Highwaywomen produced two paintings, one for each, in particular a couple of unique collaborated night scenes.
The Highwaywomen practiced their genre; Doretha used vibrant colors in her other selections. Although Doretha remarried, she signed her paintings as Hair.
It was the beginning of the fall of 2011 and the early winter months of 2012 when Doretha joined 2nd Generation Highwaymen AJ Brown on the Florida art circuit.
AJ, who'd painted and toured seven years prior, was well-known on the Florida art circuit, where she shared her valued career strategies with Doretha.
Her son Rodrick Hair occasionally joined them.
Eventually, Doretha realized a different concept; she joined her brother, the Original Highwaymen, and introduced her work from the highest platform.
After her brother died in 2015, Doretha became the first non-original to assume the privileged office of the Presidency, which set new precedence within the Highwaymen organization and the future of the 2nd Generation Highwaymen Artists.
From the platform of the Original Highwaymen, Doretha marketed her creations, coined her name, and gained famed notability.
Doretha confirms it's never too late after 40 years to establish a successful career and ownership rights to choose your name, run your course, tell your own story, and write your history.
In addition, Doretha helped ensure the opening of the long-anticipated Florida Highwaymen Art Museum on July 08, 2022, in Fort Pierce, where she showcased her painting.
Doretha Hair continues to preserve Florida's Highwaymen art history. Her family's legacy lives on; Rodrick Hair shares the family legacy of "Alfred Hair, A Great American Legend of Fort Pierce, Florida."
In 2009, Alzheimer's Community Care presented the 6th annual Opening Our Doors to Your Loved Ones hosted by the Florida Highwaymen Original and 2nd Generation Artists at the Yacht Club in Fort Pierce, Florida.
From left to right, Diane Roberts (hiatus-ed after marriage); Gertrude Walker, and AJ Brown were the only members of the 2nd Generation Highwaywomen artists of Fort Pierce until Doretha Hair began to paint and toured Florida with AJ Brown in 2011.
Also in attendance for the Benefit Dinner was Original Highwaymen MaryAnn Carroll (image not shown).
Mrs. Walker was requested to present and display the charity piece painted and donated by AJ Brown.
Gertrude Walker, seen in the middle, is the Supervisor of Elections in Fort Pierce. She managed the art career of her husband, Charles Walker, an original Highwayman.
The 1950s original Highwaymen group materialized and primarily formed with mostly friends and a few family members.
Under one name, the group respectfully came to be called the Highwaymen, also known as the Florida Highwaymen.
The Annual Highwaymen Art Exhibit is held in February, off Avenue D, in Fort Pierce, Florida.
The last exhibit was held in February 2019 but went on hiatus from 2020 thru 2022 due to the impact of Covid-19.
The Highwaywomen of Fort Pierce, Florida, are exceptional finds; their works are highly valued and distinctly sort after.