This week in our #WomenOfBMC series, we’re spotlighting Vera Williams (1927- 2015), one of few to formally graduate from Black Mountain College. Author, illustrator, activist and educator, her life was endlessly creative.
From the 1970s she produced children’s books, often centred on working-class families, informed in part by her own childhood during the Depression. A Chair for my Mother, the story of a girl watching her mother work to save money for a new chair after they lose their home in a fire, is dedicated to the memory of her mother.
Williams came to Black Mountain in 1945. Inspired by a childhood love of Heidi, she eagerly participated in milking the cows and churning the butter on the farm. Frustrated that milk was often wasted, she even made “milk paint”, which was used to whitewash the dining hall. Head to our blog to read about her time at the college, an experience that set the tone for a lifetime of creativity and activism, founding an artists’ commune, and even ending up in prison in 1980.
Image: Vera Baker, 1944. Photographer unknown. Courtesy Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina.