First Tennessee Bank has loaned the museum Carroll Cloar’s Historic Encounter Between E.H. Crump and W.C. Handy on Beale Street. The painting is now on view in the Carroll Cloar Gallery for the next six months.
Brooks Museum Curator Stanton Thomas explains the historical significance of this painting:
In this work, Cloar imagines a meeting between W.C. Handy and Edward "Boss" Crump before Beale Street's Old Daisy Theatre. Known as the "Father of the Blues," Handy arrived in Memphis in 1909 and quickly became a major attraction. He met with Crump, who was searching for ways to engage black voters. Handy re-wrote one of his tunes into a campaign song, helping Crump's rise to power.
This harmonious group portrait of Memphis' most important black and white businessmen, politicians, educators, artists and personalities, was painted in 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. This is the same year as the murder of the Freedome Summer workers - Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman. That date also marked the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which banned discrimination in employment and in public places.
from left to right:
Dr. Charlie Diehl, President of South Western College (later Rhodes College)
Watkins Overton (1894-1948), Mayor of Memphis (1949-1953)
W.C. Handy (1873-1958), Composer and Musician
Logan "Shifty Logan" Hipp (1903-1977), Boxer and Sanitation Worker
Edward H. "Boss" Crump (1874-1954), Mayor of Memphis (1910-1915)
Clarence Saunders (1881-1953), Inventor of the Supermarket
George Washington "Lieutenant" Lee (1894-1976), Businessman and Author
Kenneth Douglas McKellar (1869-1957), United States Senator
Arthur J. Halle (1876-1958), Businessman and Cotton Carnival Organizer
Carroll Cloar, American (active in Memphis), 1913-1993, Historic Encounter Between E.H. Crump and W.C. Handy on Beale Street, 1964, Casein tempera on Masonite, First Tennessee Bank National Association LI.2017.3. © Estate of Carroll Cloar