- James Smalls
(b Knoxville, TN, Dec 30, 1901; d Paris, March 29, 1979).
African American painter. Beauford Delaney was the eighth of ten children born to John Samuel Delaney, a Methodist minister and barber who came from a sharecropping family, and Della Johnson Delaney, a strong and formidable figure who instilled in her children Christian virtues and a love for art and music.
In 1923, with the encouragement and financial help of a white patron, Delaney departed for Boston and informally enrolled in several art schools there including the Copely Society, the South Boston School of Art, and the Lowell Institute. While in Boston, Delaney befriended a white, liberal and quasi-aristocratic family, the Bryants, who introduced the aspiring artist to influential people of liberal Boston society. It was through his experiences with this circle that Delaney was introduced to activist politics and radical racial ideas of the time. It was also at this time that Delaney had his first homosexual encounter.
With his artistic and political education complete, Delaney decided to venture to New York City. He arrived nearly penniless in Harlem in ...