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November 1, 2016 Published in Non-Profits, Other News

Living Legends: Elizabeth Anderson And Herman Boone

Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson
By Sherry W. Brown

Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photo

Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson (Photo: Steven Halperson/Tisara Photo)

Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson was nominated as an Alexandria Living Legend by three leading Alexandria arts organizations upon which she has had a significant impact.  They were recognizing not just her talent as an artist but her dedication to nurturing the arts and artists in the community. The mission statement of one, The Art League, recognizes that nurturing the artist enriches the community.  It is not surprising that the League joined the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association and the Torpedo Factory Art Center Board to nominate Anderson for Living Legends because the vision of the League’s mission statement also guides Anderson’s professional and volunteer life.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth Anne Midlam grew up traveling the world as the daughter of a father in the oil business.  At 12, she began developing an interest in art.  She continued it while attending Sophia Newcomb College – Tulane University for three years before graduating from Wright State University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts and a Minor in Art History.  She married Edwin M. Anderson and as an Air Force wife combined her painting career, working at home during this period of her life, with raising Betsy Malone, E. West Anderson and Allison Hughes.

Betsy Anderson discovered Alexandria when she took advantage of the League’s opening membership to residents outside Virginia.  The couple chose to retire in the Alexandria area in part due to her involvement in the League.  The Art League, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational nonprofit organization founded in 1954. It is a multifaceted visual arts organization that meets its mission through activities on which Anderson quickly put her stamp as Assistant Executive Director beginning in 1980.  Among her accomplishments, she designed the bookkeeping system still used today and responded to the need for a place for members to purchase art supplies by founding the Art Supply Store, which thrives today.  She left the position in 1988 to concentrate on her career as an artist, taking a studio at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.  In 1996 she was recruited to join the League’s Board of Directors and has served as President 11 times.  She strengthened the League’s role in the community and established the League’s Development Department and Community Outreach Program.

The Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association is a community of more than 200 artists dedicated to creating and exhibiting art and fine crafts in open studio settings and galleries. Members work in a variety of visual media and many work on site at the Factory.  Anderson joined the TFAA in 1980 and served as Vice President and later, Treasurer, when she established its bookkeeping practices and other systems to assure fiscal responsibility.

In 2011 when City Council formed the Torpedo Factory Art Center Board to be responsible for the management and operational oversight of the Torpedo Factory Art Center she was appointed by Alexandria City Council as a member representing the League and served as TFACB’s Vice President She was appointed by City Council to the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, representing the visual arts, and served six years, including two as Vice Chair.

Simultaneously with these demanding duties, Anderson has sustained an impressive career as a painter with numerous one-woman and group shows.  Her works are represented in private and corporate collections nationally and internationally.  This talented artist lives her vision nurturing the arts and artists who enrich Alexandria.

Herman Boone
By Donna Walker James

Herman Boone Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photo

Herman Boone (Photo: Steven Halperson/Tisara Photo)

Herman Boone’s successful coaching techniques led the T. C. Williams High School football team – the Titans – to numerous victories, the most spectacular of which was the 1971 season when the team was 13 and 0, won the state championship and advanced to the national championship, making them the number two team in the nation. Boone built a cohesive and cooperative football team out of rival teams brought together by integration into a single senior high school. He also sought out and obtained full athletic scholarships for more than 50 African American athletes, none of whom had been provided opportunities for scholarships before his arrival.

Born in 1935 in Rocky Mountain [Mount], North Carolina, Boone received his B.S. in biology and physical education and his master’s degree in physical education, both from the University of North Carolina [B.A., M.S. from North Carolina Central University]. Beginning in 1958, Boone coached football in Nottoway, Va., and moved in 1961 to become head football and basketball coach, biology and physical education teacher, and janitor at E.J. Hayes High School in Williamston, N.C. He led his teams to 13 state championships. This winning record made him a nationally known figure. Despite this record, the integration of schools in North Carolina threatened to derail his career. With plans to integrate the high school, he was to be demoted to assistant coach, because, “This town just is not ready for a black coach.” His replied, “I’m not a black coach. I am a coach who happens to be black.”

Meanwhile, hearing of his winning record, the Alexandria School Board recruited him as assistant and then head football coach at T.C. Williams High School to help ease racial tensions in Alexandria. Tensions were high as former head football coach Bill Yoast was moved to serve as assistant coach in an approach opposite to that proposed in North Carolina.

Boone held clinics to help players with their homework, keeping them eligible to play and helping them get into college. Boone took an active interest in the lives of players and kept in touch with former players, such as now Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook.

Boone volunteered with Alexandria Civil Rights organizations, including the NAACP and the Urban League of Northern Virginia.  He participated in many civil rights meetings that took place over more than 40 years in Alexandria, but “not in leadership roles, just as supporting cast.” He revered and learned at the knee of great Alexandria Civil Rights leaders:  Ferdinand Day, Nelson Green, Sr., Ira Robinson, and Melvin Miller, among others.  He was also part of many “kitchen table” meetings on race relations, civil rights, and helping young people achieve. Boone says that “my goal has always been to be an agent of change for all people.”  His inspirational speeches and quotes continue to this day.

Boone is married to Carol Boone. They have three daughters: Sharon Henderson, Monica Merritt and Donna Dulany, who died in November, 2014.

Living Legends: The Project
Living Legends of Alexandria is an ongoing 501(c)(3) photo-documentary project to identify, honor and chronicle the people making current history in Alexandria. The project was conceived in 2006 to create an enduring artistic record of the people whose vision and dedication make a positive, tangible difference to the quality of life in Alexandria. For information, to volunteer, become a sponsor or nominate a future Legend, visit www.AlexandriaLegends.org or contact AlexandriaLegends@outlook.com

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