Making history: a painter and an activist get their due
Essence, Dec, 2004
Simmie Knox The son of a sharecropper, the painter (below) was asked by Bill Clinton to create portraits of the former president and his wife. The paintings will permanently hang in the White House. Knox, 69, who has also immortalized Thurgood Marshall, Muhammad Ali and Hank Aaron, is the first African-American commissioned to paint a presidential portrait.
Dorothy Height A civil-rights activist for more than six decades and chair of the National Council of Negro Women, she was honored in July with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress. The month before, Height, 92, was named an honorary alumna at Barnard College after being denied admission in 1929 because, as she wrote in her memoir, the school had "a quota of two Negro students per year and two others had already taken the spots."
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