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Photo of Emerson Terry
My name is:
Emerson Terr

I was Born in Columbus Ohio. At an early age my love of art was influenced by the creative talent of my Mother, Nettie Kersy Terry and my brother Robert Terry, they were both very talented artist.

My Mother never worked as a professional artist, but she painted and designed clothes, and hats. Robert as a young man worked as a sign painter and illustrator, Robert produced animated flip books, built childrens furniture, play houses and a Soap Box Derby Racer. I served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and I was stationed in Alaska. On my return from World War 2, I lived for a short time in Detroit, Michigan where I worked in an automobile factory.

In 1947 my brother, Carlton and I moved to Los Angeles, where we went into the sign painting business, because we could not find work. Business was good, we got a car and then a truck and before long we opened a sign shop. I quit the sign business to go to College, I attended Los Angeles City College where I met and married Gloria Simmons, I transferred to Art Center College of Design, where I graduated with a B.A. in Professorial Arts. I attended Chouinard Art School, and later on I attended U.C.L.A. Graduate School
of Film Making. I later took computer classes at Glendale City College and Pasadena City College in PhotoShop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver.

My wife Gloria and I have six wonderful children and 12 super grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Two of our daughters are professional Artist; Sharon is a Illustrator and Painter. Riea is a Designer and Art Director with a major motion picture company. Some of the grandchildren love to draw. And when I say, do you want to become a artist? They look at me and say in no uncertain terms, “I am a artist.” (smile)

I have worked in Advertising many years, as a Illustrator, Designer, and Art Director. I have produced illustrations and designs for industrial, product and entertainment advertising. Also, editorial illustrations, motion picture posters and concept ad design for NBC and CBS TV guide ads.

As a member of the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators, I produced paintings documenting the history of the U.S. Air Force. That was when I decided I should be documenting African American History, though I had lllustrated school text books in the 1960’s, putting some black faces in the Illustration, this did not get to the issue of Africa, or African American History. So I made a conscious decision to document some African American History. The first series of paintings that I produced were about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. And that was during the 1960’s when the sit-in’s and marches were all taking place in the U.S.A. In the future I might mount a web site to show the Civil Rights Paintings.

The Black Cowboys was a series of paintings that I started to produce after one of my daughters in elementary school, turned in a paper about the Black Cowboy. The teacher who was white, told my daughter that, it was a nice paper, but there was no such thing as Black Cowboys. So... The “AFRICAN COWBOYS” paintings were started.

If you would like to see the kind of Advertising Illustrations and Design work that I produced check out My Portfolio web site. View MY ADVERTISING PORTFOLIO .

This Website ( African Cowboys ) is to recapture African History in the Old West and to allow others to tell known stories of African Cowboys who lived and worked in the old west.

If you know of a African Cowboy story that I have not covered, please contact me.


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Emerson R. Terry
Skype /emersonrterry / Copyright © 1997
Revised: March 30,1998 Revised: 2009
Revised / Revised 2011