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b. 1947

Al Black (or "Young Blood" to his friends) was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1947, and he moved to his grandmother's house in Fort Pierce at the age of 13. He met Alfred and the rest of the group as a teenager, but was not interested in painting when he first joined. He had a natural talent for sales, and he initially started as a salesman for the group.

He started out selling paintings for the other artists along with a few other of the groups salesmen, Clarence Banks and Alonzo Pratt. At the beginning of his Highwaymen career, he would only paint to repair or touch up paintings that were smudged in transit. Many of the artists would say they didn't want to teach him to paint, because they knew if they did, then he would no longer be able to sell their paintings.

He was known to sell many of Livingston Roberts and Willie Daniels paintings in particular, for which they would often paint a dozen in a night and give to Al to sell the next day.  On many of these examples, you can find in pen a signature of "A. Black 1981" (or similar structure) indicating it is actually a painting done by another member of the group. He did this when he would receive unsigned paintings to sell, then signing them in person with a customer present to help close a deal.


Al Black was known for his ability as a salesman, and perhaps too good of a salesman at times. For instance, if he got 5 paintings from an artist to sell for $30 each, he would sell the paintings for $50 each. He then could keep the $20 extra, and still get his commission. He often made more than the original artist did.

While generally harmless, he did not create a healthy habit for himself. He eventually picked up painting after Alfred Hair passed in 1970, and he began selling his own work. He inevitably fell behind on some of his promises, and his bad habits caught up with him. In 1997, Black was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud.

During this time, he continued to paint, and gained status by adorning the halls of the Central Florida Reception Center for the Florida Department of Corrections. He eventually would go on to paint over 100 murals on prison walls throughout the state of Florida. During this time he also became a believer and often states that God transformed his life in prison. This is also why in many of his paintings you can see 3 birds, said to represent the Holy Trinity.

Al Black was released from prison in 2006. Since then, he has turned his life around. He still paints in his same backyard in Fort Pierce that he has for many years. He attends shows, hosts art classes, and remains an active member of the Highwaymen community today.

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