Oil and oil collage on canvas
36 x 36 inches
This painting is a tribute to Alberta Odell Jones who was brutally murdered at the age of 34. She was an attorney and civil rights activist. As an activist, she created the Independent Voter's Association and registered over 6, 000 black voters. Her efforts resulted in a major political shake-up in Louisville, Kentucky, in which the major and many city aldermen were ousted.
As an attorney, she graduated fourth in her class at Howard University Law School and was one of the first black women to pass the Kentucky Bar. She represented Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali in his first professional fight contract and protected him from exploitation. In 1964, she became the first black female prosecutor in Louisville, Kentucky, often prosecuting white men for spousal abuse.
On August 5, 1965, her green Ford Fairlane was ambushed at night; she was beaten with a brick and her body dumped over the side of the Sherman Minton Bridge into the Ohio River in Louisville. Her murderers were never caught despite witnesses and fingerprints.
The inspiration for this painting was a photograph of her posted on social media. She had the most trusting, eager, innocent look, so excited about the future and all that she would accomplish. I had to paint this painting.
Drama: The Art of Storytelling, Orange County Center of Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA, 2022.