Revisiting the 1960s with Rebel Spirits

Posted on May 30, 2018. Filed under: Art, Family, Gay parent | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

This is a print of painting Gregory Thornton created to honor these casulaties of the 1960s.

Ever get an email from someone you don’t know, and it turns out not to be from a Nigerian prince who has an inheritance for you if you only wire $2500? A few weeks ago, I did. The email was from the Stephen Fagin, executive director of The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas. The museum chronicles the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy; interprets the Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza; and presents contemporary culture within the context of presidential history. Who knew? It’s located in The Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald perched himself to assassinate President Kennedy. Anyway, their special exhibit titled, “Rebel Spirits” hosts a canvas print of a painting my dad, Gregory J. Thornton, created in the 1960s. My dad’s client and president of a large printing company purchased the original painting, and Coretta King, Martin Luther King’s widow had one of the prints.

The museum’s executive director tracked me down because they are creating an awesome collection of interviews with people related to items in their museum. The director set up an interview with me to discuss the painting, the painter and the 1960s for the museum’s oral history collection. Last week, we spoke on the phone for an hour. I can’t say that I felt all that eloquent, but I seemed to have pulled off the interview. I sent the museum a copy of the thank-you letter Coretta King sent to him along with some other vintage documents I managed to locate in my files. If I find more info on the audio cassette tapes, I’ll send the museum a copy of the digitized recording for them to use with the exhibit and/or archives.

Meanwhile, I also digitized 10 more audio cassette tapes. This batch was a sorry sample. Two tapes were broken and half the others sound like a conversation in a train station during a hailstorm.  Nevertheless, I found some interesting segments.

Stay tuned. –And if I ever get to Dallas, I’m going to check out The Sixth Floor Museum!



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2 Responses to “Revisiting the 1960s with Rebel Spirits”

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Emily, thank you for sharing this story. What a wonderful event and memory!

Glad you like it, Jackie. Hope you’re doing OK.

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