Oral history interview with Charles Henry Alston, 1965 September 28
Alston, Charles Henry, 1907-1977
Phillips, Harlan B. (Harlan Buddington),, 1920-
Schmoo, Aaron Ben
Halpert, Edith Gregor
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)
Public Works of Art Project
Federal Art Project (N.Y.)
Harlem Artists Guild
United States.Federal Emergency Relief Administration
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 39 pages
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 24 minutes.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Charles Alston conducted 1965 September 28, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project.
Alston speaks of his work as an art director of a community camp and as director of a boys' club in Harlem; the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) and his involvement; the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and his involvement in it; his membership in the Harlem Artists Guild; his contribution to WPA Federal Art Project murals at Harlem Hospital; mural versus easel painting; problems with the Artists Union; and camaraderie among FAP artists. He recalls Lou Block, Stuart Davis, Burgoyne Diller, Edith Halpert, Jacob Lawrence, Ernest Pachano, Aaron Ben Schmoo, and others, and describes his associations with musicians including Billie Holliday, Duke Ellington and Chick Webb.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Charles Henry Alston, 1965 September 28. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Charles Henry Alston (1907-1977) was an African American painter and mural painter in New York, New York.
This interview conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001