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Fri, 01.07.1887

James V. Herring, Artist, and Professor born

James Herring

*James V. Herring was born on this date in 1887.  He was a Black artist and professor.

James Vernon Herring was born in Clio, South Carolina, to a Black mother and a white Jewish father who was an educator and visual artist. To ensure him a good education and protection from white racial violence, his family sent the youthful Herring to live with family members in Washington, DC.

There he received his early education at Howard University Academy, which prepared him to enter and successfully graduate from Syracuse University and later to do graduate work at Columbia and Harvard universities. A year after he was appointed to Howard University's architecture faculty, he established the Department of Art at the university in 1921, and the young Alma Thomas became its first graduate, whom Herring would later describe as "opinionated and not less omniscient."

According to Adelyn D. Breeskin. In 1943, Herring, along with Alonzo J. Aden, opened the Barnett-Aden Gallery in Washington, DC. The gallery was the first Black privately owned and operated art gallery in the United States and was located at 127 Randolph Street, NW. To fight segregation, both black and white artists were exhibited at the gallery. The gallery served as a place to meet those interested in art, including curators from the Phillips Collection, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the National Gallery of Art.

Herring and Aden also worked together at the Gallery of Art at Howard. Herring founded it in 1930, and Aden served as the first curator. Herring retired from Howard in 1953 and died on May 29, 1969.  

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