The Original Hall of Fame Highwaymen Artist

In the mid-fifties Zanobia Jefferson arranged with Beane Backus to recommend to him students of her art classes who she felt showed some artistic abilities, and who would benefit from his instruction. Apparently the one who had signs of the most talent was a young teenage black student named Alfred Hair.

The Highwaymen, also referred to as the Florida Highwaymen, are a group of twenty-six named and listed landscape artists who have been called “The Last Great American Art Movement of the 20th Century” as cited from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Mary Ann Carroll is listed as the only female among the group inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004. Their renown has grown internationally during the 2000’s and they have become part of Florida culture and history. The remaining artists in the original group (eight are deceased) continue to paint to this day, more than 50 years since they first started to paint, even though most artists are now in their 70’s and some nearing their 80’s.

The Highwaymen, a loose association of African American artists from Fort Pierce, Florida, who began painting in the early 1950’s and into the 1960’s created large numbers of relatively inexpensive landscape paintings, which were created using construction materials rather than traditional art supplies. As no galleries would accept their works, they sold them in towns and cities and along roadsides throughout Florida often still wet, out of trunks of their cars.

Artist Zora Neale Hurston

Did you know that the late Zora Neale Hurston resided in Fort Pierce the last two years of her life? And did you know that Ms. Hurston was a teacher at Lincoln Park Academy and a writer for the Fort Pierce Chronicle (the first African American owned newspaper in St. Lucie County)? Did you know her gravesite is in the Lincoln Park community at the Heavenly Rest Cemetery? And did you know that Sarah’s Memorial Chapel (formally known as Peek Funeral Chapel) prepared the body for final rites and the service was held in the funeral parlor?

Ms. Hurston, (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston’s four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.

Zora Neale Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail. Eight markers that chronologically represent Ms. Hurston’s impact on St. Lucie County show where she worked, lived, and played. Her home is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark, and she is buried at Garden of Heavenly Rest Cemetery. The Zora Neale Hurston Branch Library and 8 kiosks and marker locations for the Dusk Tracks Heritage Trail.