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 Elma Lewis

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Elma Lewis

  • Birth 15 Sep 1921 Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 1 Jan 2004 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Plot Dogwood Avenue
  • Memorial ID 8233700

Arts Educator. Born to immigrant parents from the West Indies, she earned her undergraduate degree from Emerson College and her M.Ed. degree from Boston University. She started her career teaching drama and dance as well as speech therapy. In 1950 she founded the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in Roxbury, which taught art, music, drama, costume and dance to the youth of Boston's African-American community for the next forty years. She also founded the Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park, which saw performances by the likes of Duke Ellington and the Boston Pops. She founded the National Center of Afro-American Artists and later the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. In 1981 she received the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and two years later was honored with the Presidential Medal of the Arts by President Reagan. In 1988 at the first National Black Arts Conference she was honored as a "Living Legend". During her lifetime she was the recipient of over 400 awards and 28 honorary degrees.

Bio by: Jen Snoots





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kara Warren
  • Added: 2 Jan 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8233700
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Elma Lewis (15 Sep 1921–1 Jan 2004), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8233700, citing Forest Hills Cemetery and Crematory, Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .