WARREN — A local woman is using her artistic talent to create drawings of local black residents noted for their many lifetime accomplishments.
The drawings are being used for special sets of informational cards — with the drawings on one side and biographical information on the other — about the person and his / her life, achievements and accomplishments. Plans are to get the cards to local schools, libraries, churches and historical societies.
Sonya Davenport Moore of Warren said she has completed 15 drawings for the 5-by-8-inch cards. She looks for photos of the people to draw from that show the person’s true expression.
“I like to capture the expression of the individual so people can see exactly who they are,” she said.
Portraits include Willie Davenport, who won an Olympic gold medal in 100-meter dash; Fred “Zip” Brooks, one of the first professional black sports trainers; Dr. James Rogers, who was a member of former Gov. Richard Celeste’s cabinet; Robert Saffold, the first black firefighter in Warren; Helen Rucker, the first black councilwoman in Warren; and Bob Dawson, Warren’s first black safety service director.
She said she can complete a picture in a day or two.
“I keep working on it until I finish it. I am the biggest critic of my work. Some pictures I can start and change five times. Whatever I see in the photos I will pick up on in my drawings,” she said.
She said it is important to get the information out to the public about the local individuals’ accomplishments.
“There were things about some of the people I did not know. I grew up here and did not know all the people and what they did. I was very inspired when I learned more about them,” Davenport Moore said.
She said she’s glad women are among those she included with the drawings.
In addition to the drawings for Black History Month, Davenport Moore also is working on a children’s black history coloring book.
Fred Harris of Warren said he and Davenport Moore are with the Friends of Liberation Historic Foundation, focusing on showcasing the histories of local African Americans.
“Trumbull County and Warren have not really done a great job as far as black history. The historical society has done a good job of what they have been doing to record the stories of local residents. There are people who have some real stories to tell,” Harris said.
He has recorded stories of local African Americans himself for the past 25 years and is working with the Trumbull County Historical Society on its oral history project.
He said the drawings include living and deceased people.
“This is our history to share with the public. It is important to share the information on the contributions that people of color have made and contributed to the county. There are so many who do not know the talent our city has lost. So many of the younger generations do not know the price these people had to pay in their lives to lay the foundation which today benefits so many others,” he said.
Harris said the current generation of young people is the most integrated generation in the history of the country.
“When they had the marches last summer on television I was shocked that there were more white kids than black kids marching with their hands in the air with the power symbol for all Americans,” he said.
Harris said the picture cards are like “giant flashcards” that teachers can use in the schools.
Darius Harris of Niles, a local businessman with TRK Marketing, said he will be involved with putting together the packaging for the cards.
“We are discussing whether to have packages with 25 cards or 50 inside. We will advertise the cards to let people know about them. We want to advertise to different age groups,” he said.
Plans are to unveil the cards this year.
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