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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 a graduate of 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 the Major Bowle's Amateur House, once famous and well listened to the national radio program. William Pleasant documented in his art many of the once influential people and historical landmarks of Savannah's Black heritage.
Some of his pieces are found in collections in New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Savannah. 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 titled, '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.
William M. Pleasant