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William Merriette Pleasant, Jr., a Black artist, was born on this date in 1928.
He was born in Savannah, GA, and graduated from that city's Beach High School. Pleasant attended Savannah State College, Delaware State College, and Tyler School of Fine Arts of Philadelphia, PA. He is a graduate of York College of York, Pennsylvania. He was one of the first members of the Bahai Faith of Savannah and served on its assembly. Pleasant was a 33-degree Mason, a corporal in the United States Air Force, and a member of the Mu Eta Kappa Fraternity.
He was an early member of the NAACP, and as a performing artist, Pleasant was a showman (as well as a commercial sign painter). He appeared on Major Bowle's Amateur House, once famous and well-listened to the national radio program. In his art, William Pleasant documented many of the once-influential people and historical landmarks of Savannah's Black heritage.
Some of his pieces are found in New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Savannah collections. Others can be found in the private collection of J. Ruschack, Accountant/Marketing, Universal Studios, and the permanent collection of the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah. William M. Pleasant died in 1997.
In 2016, William Pleasant Jr was inducted into the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, His iconic painting, 'The Huckster,’ is a centerpiece of the 10-year exhibition titled Cultural Expressions at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC.