Monday, November 24, 2008


I've known Tony Crichlow (TC) for a few years now. He likes his Miller High-life and he loves playing pool. But, we really don't know most of the people we see every week or every day. We often know the present, but not the past. We know how they act and we get a sense of their personality. Tony never really talked much about his Dad, not until he brought a book into the bar the other night. I knew him mostly as TC, but never really knew what the C stood for.

It was a book about his Dad's life. You see, Tony's dad was Ernest Crichlow, one of America's most prolific African-American Renaissance artists. Born in 1914, Mr. Crichlow emerged in the 1930's as one of the foremost activists for equal rights. Well before the civil rights movement, Crichlow painted "Lovers," a 1938 piece showing a Ku Klux Klansman sexually assaulting a black woman in her bedroom.

Born in Brooklyn, Crichlow taught art in New York City public schools, he was a college professor and he illustrated many children's books. His collections are on display at the Brooklyn Museum and they are part of the Hewitt Collection. He died in 2005 at the age of 91. I seem to recall Tony mentioning that a few years back, but he never really shared much about his father, which is why his visit the other night was so unusual. He shared two books, one that was a historical piece and the other a book featuring some of his more noteworthy art. I could tell Tony was proud

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