About the Author
Willie Kate Ridley Jackson was Greg's most ardent supporter and the historian who preserved the record of his accomplishments throughout his career. Both Greg (born in 1925) and his sister Willie Kate (born in 1926) were students of the renowned Aaron Douglas, the painter associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Greg majored in art, and Kate, who was interested in watercolor, majored in history and minored in art at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She later earned a master's degree in library service from Atlanta University. Kate became the first black librarian with professional library credentials to work at the main public library in downtown Toledo. Throughout her professional career, she also set up libraries in private schools and for various organizations. But Kate never lost her love for art nor her keen interest in Greg's journey. Kate shared her zeal for art and her desire to codify the oral and written documentation of Greg's art with her neice, Constance Ridley Smith, musician, educator and writer. Constance, alumnae of Tennessee State University in Nashville (B.S.,1979 and MPA, 1985) studied Honors Art Appreciation with Greg Ridley in 1977. Upon his death in 2004, she happened upon a copy of his master's thesis and other memorabilia Greg had given to his sister over the years. The desire to write a brochure mushroomed into four years of research, recording oral history, preserving artifacts, compiling documentation and writing this, the official record of Greg Ridley's artistic journey.