The undervalued force behind the Highwaymen phenomenon
Alfred Hair: Heart of the Highwaymen is a long-awaited testament to the life and work of a painter whose energy and creativity were foundational to the success of his fellow African American artists during the era of Jim Crow segregation.
From the author, Gary Monroe:
Alfred Hair arrived at his innovative style through fast painting; through this technique he inevitably stripped images down to their essentials. Without ornamentation and accoutrements, nothing was in the way of the visceral responses that the images demanded of viewers. Hair’s aesthetic yielded a fresh interpretation of the land, one so easy to connect with.
Alfred Hair: Heart of the Highwaymen is a book about somebody who managed to achieve the seemingly impossible during times that were not conducive to creative thinking, much less creative living for African Americans. It is a book about how one person, in 29 short years, managed to encourage at least two dozen other people to live better lives. This book is about a legend that has influenced the generations that have followed his. This is a book about a man who gained recognition through art but whose life story defies ramifications and restrictions. It is a book about Alfred Hair, who truly was the heart of the Highwaymen.
Gary Monroe is retired professor of fine arts and photography at Daytona State College. He is the author of numerous books, including The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters, Mary Ann Carroll: First Lady of the Highwaymen, and more.