Past Program Highlights

Juan DePareja

In 2013 and 2014, in conjunction with an initiative planned and implemented by Dr. Vivian Johnson – a Manasota ASALH Education Committee member, and in collaboration with the North Sarasota Library, the organization purchased books to supplement a project for 8th graders at Booker Middle School on 16th Century African-Spaniard painter, Juan de Pareja. Juan de Pareja had been enslaved, and was subsequently “freed” by the artist Diego Velázquez, from whom he learned the elements of his craft.

Pictured below is Dr. Johnson conducting a workshop with students at Booker Middle School around the youth novel, “I, Juan de Pareja” by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino. Manasota ASALH provided a class set of this award-winning book to the school as a part of the project.

The books were a companion resource for the ASALH-sponsored trip by the students to the Ringling Library to conduct research and to the Ringling Museum to view the only original painting by Juan de Pareja in the United States and to participate in the museum’s “Literature through Art Appreciation” program.


Pictured right is Manasota ASALH’s Education Committee Chairperson, Dr. Brenda Brown with Booker Middle School lead teacher, Dr. Sherika Evans at the Ringling Museum. As a culminating event, the students created a multi-media presentation that they performed at a community event at the North Sarasota Library and also to the Manasota ASALH membership during a monthly meeting.

The Root, April 20, 2014:
Discovering an Enslaved Artist and His Masterpiece

by: Dr. Vivian Johnson