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Charly Palmer

Charly Palmer - Time magazine selects Custer High School alum for special issue on racial injustice

Milwaukee Custer High School

For the cover of its new double issue "America Must Change," Time magazine turned to artist Charly Palmer, a proud graduate of Custer High School - proud class of 1978, for a portrait about the impact of racial injustice.

His painting, "In Her Eyes," shows a girl in profile with images of fires, protests and police in her mind. "Little Black children today are afraid,” Palmer said in a statement about the image. "As a man, I am concerned for my own children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. I worry about the Black community as a whole,” Palmer told Time in a discussion about the painting. 

The Time issue, with a cover date of July 6 / July 13, includes other Palmer paintings: "Remembering George," a commemoration of George Stinney Jr., executed at age 14 on a conviction that was overturned 70 years later; "Eminent Domain," which depicts the construction of the interstate highway system as a cancer destroying Black neighborhoods; and a portrait of novelist James Baldwin.

Born in Alabama, Palmer moved with his family to Milwaukee in 1964, at age 4. He began drawing early, often on typing paper his mom would bring home from her job at City Hall. After the family moved to a home in the Capitol Drive neighborhood, she let him paint a mural on the living room wall. 

“As a Black child of the mid-’60s, my parents did all they could to shield me from the horrors of racism, especially through the unconditional love and vigilant protection of my mother, Irma Walker," Palmer told Time. Walker died in 2008. The floral imagery in his paintings since then pays homage to her. 

Palmer, who lives in Atlanta, said Time's creative director approached him because he knew Palmer's work, including paintings in his Silent Series, which address the right of African Americans to speak, and was partly inspired by Colin Kaepernick's protest.  The picture above is one in a series of paintings of Colin Kaepernick.

Story captured using experpts from the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel -Jim Higgins author.

Artwork with permission from :

Ayanna Jones                                                                                                                          
Charly Palmer's Studio Manager

Photo credit  of Mr. Palmer "at the easel" to Melissa Alexander 2020




Custer High School Alumni Association:


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