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Sep 22 2020 - 09:30 AM
Today In History: Alma Thomas Is Born

Born September 22nd, 1891 in Columbus, Georgia, Alma Woodsey Thomas was a late blooming African American artist who began to paint seriously after she retired in 1960 from her decades-long career as an art teacher in the public schools of Washington, D.C. Known as an influential leader in the Washington Color School, Alma Thomas produced many important and vibrant works of abstraction, inspired by science and nature, from the landing on the Moon to the flowers most representative of our nation's capitol -- cherry blossoms and azaleas. She was the first student to enroll in Howard University's fine arts course, and went on to study at Teachers College, Columbia University. Thomas' work, Resurrection, was acquired by the White House, and she was honored with solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum in New York, as well as permanent placement of her work, Red Roses Sonata, at the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.


  • Try a TC Super Search using the keywords "Alma Thomas" to discover a range of interesting articles, books, chapters, dissertations and more held by the Gottesman Libraries.

  • Or a CLIO search using the keywords "Alma Thomas" to discover additional materials held by Columbia University Libraries.


  • The Eclipse, by Alma Thomas. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Smithsonian American Art Museum

  • Special News Slid, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries


Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context. Be sure to check additional Cafe News postings on the library blog.