It Jes' Happened

When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

Tate, Don

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
It Jes' Happened
"A biography of twentieth-century African American folk artist Bill Traylor, a former slave who at the age of eighty-five began to draw pictures based on his memories and observations of rural and urban life in Alabama. Includes an afterword, author's note, and sources"--Provided by publisher.

Publisher: New York : Lee & Low Books, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781600602603
Branch Call Number: J B Traylor T
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 23 x 28 cm.
Additional Contributors: Christie, R. Gregory 1971-
Alternate Title: It just happened


From Library Staff

Why did 85-year-old Billy Traylor suddenly pick up a pencil one day and start to draw? Like the book says, it just happened.

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Mar 22, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Here you have a guy who lived a whole life, discovered an artistic calling near the end, and remains remembered where before he might have been forgotten. It makes for an interesting lesson and, to my relief, and even more interesting book. In It Jes’ Happened Don Tate and R. Gregory Christie pair up for the first time ever to present the life and art of an ordinary man who lived through extraordinary times.


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Mar 22, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 5 and 9


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Mar 22, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

He was born a slave, Bill Traylor was. Around 1854 or so Bill was born on a cotton plantation in Alabama. After the Civil War his parents stayed on as sharecroppers. After he grew up Bill ran a farm of his own with his wife and kids, but when Bill turned eighty-one he was alone on the farm by himself. With cane in hand he headed for Montgomery. It was there that he started drawing, for no immediately apparent reason. He’d draw on cardboard or discarded paper. After a time, a young artist took an interest in Bill, ultimately showing off his work in a gallery show. Bill enjoyed it but for him the drawing was the most important thing. An Afterword discusses Bill’s life and shows a photograph of him and a piece of his art.


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Mar 22, 2012
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

“Bill saved up memories of these times deep inside himself.”


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It Jes' Happened
Tate, Don
It Jes' Happened

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