F is for My Fiercely Creative Family

F is for Family Tree
Click on the image to enlarge.

This is my sixth post for the April A-Z Challenge. I am going to post about my fiercely creative family members.  After I wrote about the medical people in the family, I started thinking about the writers, musicians, singers, dancers and other creative people that we have in the family.

The problem began as I pulled photos. With doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists it is straight forward – they study and then they practice. This is usually their work for life.  With creative people it’s not so easy.  People may study for years and then practice their craft for some years before moving into another area. Or they might write and sing.  They may never have a job in their chosen field or get paid for doing it.  And what about those who are creative in areas that aren’t usually thought of as “Art”?  The seamstresses and the chefs, should I include them?  And how about those creative thinkers?  And gardeners? As I continued with this line of thinking I began to be overwhelmed.  I had to draw the line somewhere!  Here is what I came up with.

Starting first row, upper left:

  • Syruz Ahmad Grizm who raps and writes and does collages.
  • His wife Lady Syruz who also raps.
  • A 45 cut by Hubert Averette in the 1970’s.
  • Jacqui Vincent who danced.
  • Jacqui’s son, Vincent Bingham, tap dancing with Gregory Hines
  • I think this is John Mullins playing the saxophone.
  • Tony Shoemaker playing the drums.
  • Below is his father, Floyd Shoemaker, playing the bongos.
  • Next to him (going from r to l) is Annabelle McCall Martin with husband Edward and their children.  Florida in the 1920s.
  • Jan Evans Peterson leaping through the air during her dance career.
  • Zaron Burnett’s book “The Carthaginian Honor Society.” (Pearl Cleage’s husband.)
  • Dee Dee McNeil jazz chanteuse and writer.
  • Dee Dee’s daughter Maricea during her singing career with the “Sophisticated Ladies”.  She is the one on the far left in the photo.
  • Going back towards the right, we have Dee Dee’s son William Chappell who raps.
  • My daughter, Ayanna’s chapter in the homeschooling classic “Real Lives”.
  • Edward McCall, poet and publisher.
  • Henry W. Cleage playing the cello.  He also was one of the most creative thinkers.
  • A drawing of me back in  1968 by my aunt (next line).
  •  Gladys Cleage Evans – visual artist and art teacher.
  • Below Gladys we have her granddaughter, Shashu who sings, paints and does fantastic things with hair.
  • My daughter, Ife Williams sculpting. She is a sculptor and is now moving into pottery.
  • Below Ife is the heading for Henry W. Cleages chapbook “The Status Theory.”
  • Louis Cleage playing the organ.  He also wrote “Smoke Rings” for the Illustrated News in the early 1960s and was also a creative thinker.  Often in offbeat ways.
  • Below Louis you find me, Kristin Cleage, working on something. Blogger, printmaker, poet and sometime quilter.
  • A chapbook by my daughter Tulani.
  • “Smoke Rings” heading. Written by Louis Cleage.
  • Cousin Dale Evans in his Actor photo. He acted on TV and in movies.
  • My daughter Jilo in a play during her college years.
  • My grandmother, Pearl Reed, singing in concert in Indianapolis,1908.
  • a chapbook of my organizing poet son, James Williams.
  • Book by my father Albert B. Cleage, JR “The Black Messiah”.  Another creative thinker.
  • Book by my sister Pearl Cleage “Mad at Miles”.  Author and playwrite.
  • Sadya, pastry chef.
  • Beulah Allen Pope – seamstress
  • Mary Allen McCall – seamstress
  • Jennie Allen Turner – seamstress
  • Eliza Williams Allen – seamstress and mother of the three sisters above.

6 thoughts on “F is for My Fiercely Creative Family

  1. Wow! You certainly do have a fiercely creative family (love the phrase), but not only that, you have made a fiercely creative post with that collage. You’re absolutely right that creative people don’t follow a straight-line trajectory. They don’t necessarily receive much validation from the outside world, at least not in terms of financial rewards, but they do what they do because they have a passion for it. You don’t have to actually produce anything if you live like that–your creativity spills over into everything you do and everyone with whom you come in contact. Lovely post.

    1. No I didn’t! I’m right there, bottom right, between “The Status Theory” and the orange poetry chapbook “Coming of Age” on the computer 🙂

  2. Wow–this is so cool!! My sister is a physician and I’m a writer/editor. Mine doesn’t feel like as much of a career as hers, so I understand!

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