Monday, January 31, 2011

Roy E. LaGrone

To me he was Grandpa, to so many others He was one of a Kind.
I remember a lot about the Man i miss Much More Now as i become Older.
i was always in the Studio listening to his Jazz records watching him Paint, this was all normal to me I had no real idea then of anything else, he was grandpa he liked to paint shoot pictures Fly Planes, i knew he was in the war..The Facts of all these things Then i knew nothing of..

Roy E. LaGrone, World “War ll Pilot, and Tuskegee Airmen he had an illustrious career as a Graphic designer, Illustrator, art director, Graphic co-ordinator, and painter. Due to his life long commitment and passion to tell the untold stories,sacrifices, and contributions of the nation’s first black Army Air Force pilots he became the artistic spokesman for so many who needed to be seen and heard. Through his paintings, his long love of flying and the magnificent portrayals of his fellow airmen He has sealed the images of these great heroic men into the history pages.

He was always on me about one thing or another to up the Anti either in Sports or School, he would say hey there buckaroo what up with those grades when you going to learn to Fly Like your Grand daddy..a lot of lessons i learned from him, That help me live my Life Everyday now. we must be so much a like i think sometimes..when Grandma gets Annoyed with me she says so too.. "you just like your grandfather".. i now counter that with "well if you loved him then this must be a good thing. right".

When My Grandfather Passed in 93 i was still making a name for myself not yet understanding what i would really do with my life, i liked to take pictures i was already dj ing and throwing parties but the path was far from clear on how all those would come together.It was a Hard time i was in Los Angeles he was in New Jersey.. i had been meaning to call him that week of course but was caught up with being me.. the next call i would get from his number would not be the one anyone wants to Answer.

In Recent Years i have Grown to express my Art more freely when thinking of him for inspiration a man i can only wish to live up to...Feb 1st is his Birthday, what a present that must of been for him in 1971 His only Grandson would be born 2 days Later.

Which brings me to a Present i have Received recently.Last year Some of his work was shown here @ The California African American Museum.This year i will Have the Pleasure of Representing the Family Along with my Mother and Aunt for a Dedication Ceremony featuring the artwork of my Grandfather at The Pentagon. What a Trip.But it's about time.. Happy Birthday Grandpa!! I love you.

"The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force requests the pleasure of your company at a Dedication Ceremony featuring the artwork of former Tuskegee Airman, Mr. Roy E. LaGrone, on Tuesday, the fifteenth of February at half past eleven in the morning in Corridors 9 and 10, A-Ring, 5th Floor at The Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.Please see the attached invitation for additional information and details."
R.s.v.p by 8 February

Tuskegee's Heroes, featuring the Aviation Art of Roy E. La Grone, tells the story of the first black pilots and personnel to take to the air for the U.S. Army Air Corps of WWII. Co-Authored by Ann Lewis Cooper and her husband, Major General Charles S. Cooper III, USAF Retired, this compelling book is beautifully illustrated with the art of one of the Tuskegee Airmen, Roy E. La Grone.


  1. ...i love this, and am honored that the blood that ran through his veins continues to run through ours.....

  2. THIS IS AWESOME....thanks so much for putting this together. I am so proud of you and working on this venture together...Love your Auntie.

  3. What a wonderful tribute! Just reading this makes me feel as if I knew Roy personally. He was not only "young gifted & black" he was the quintessential American treasure! I celebrate his birth!

  4. What a beautiful and inspiring tribute to your Grandfather. It's clear that he lived a rich and wonderful life. I can see that his legacy has been passed on to you.

  5. Greetings and Salutations from another of the Tuskegee Generation. My father was there with the Tuskegee Airmen but was not ONE OF THEM. His mentor and best colleague William Walters just passed away last year and would have loved to celebrate your dad. I send my congrats on the Honor you are doing your legacy and your family.
    May we all have the option of celebration you are giving yourself and your MOther.
    Harry Waters Jr. - SKIP from 110th St.

  6. Azul...

    Such a wonderful tribute to a man who brought such beauty into our world. It's obvious that this is tradition in your family since you and your mom continue to do the same. The look on your grandpa's face in the pix w/you is one of pure happiness. Thanks for sharing with us!
    Wendi, Taylor and Heavener

  7. Such a heartwarming story! What a talented artist. You've definitely inherited his artistic genes! :)

  8. I enjoyed reading the article as well. My father was Edward LaGrone, brother to Roy LaGrone, all of Pine Bluff, AR. Anyways, the article was just fantastic and I sincerely enjoyed reading it. ~Karen Patrice

  9. Wow this was a very beautiful way to remember your grandfather. I'm a LaGrone, wonder if there's any relation. What an honor it would be!

    Freida LaGrone

  10. William LaGrone Jr. Grand son of Verlee LaGrone Sr.and I too am an artist. We are related if you are interested to see how get on facebook and contact John LaGrone. This is so cool!!! it really should be mentioned in the family archives.

  11. do you recognise Susa LaGrone

  12. Hello to the family of Roy E LaGrone of Pine Bluff. I am John E LaGrone of St. Louis. I have communicated with William,Jr of Michigan, and, hopefully, the late Freida LaGrone was my Illinois cousin. Yes, it would be great if we LaGrones were all related, but it is equally fantastic that we do relate through the name. The matriarch of the Roy LaGrone family of Alabama personally shared his mother's views at our Tupelo Reunion, 2006?, that we all are related (regardless the branch or the race). It is a good thought!
    With the help of Barbara Jones,G Rap, we have begun penning the family trees of our core LaGrones as we know them to be...the 7 or so children of Martha LaGrone, Nettleton,MS, born 1835. Today, Virginia Morrow-Reel is providing even more help and trees...along with my brother Paul LaGrone-Davis' keen interest in Roy E. I have seen a black Henry LaGrone in the census on Tupelo as an adult when my grgrgrgr Elijah LaG and his known siblings (Ross, Mary Jane Green, Melissa Amanda Morrow) were in Tupelo/Nettleton, MS. Other siblings, we think, were William (OK), Samuel and, Henry ( ...whose Pine Bluff family says that he might be from Aberdeen or Amory. I reminded them that my Elijah is less than 50 miles Nettleton. We are more cousins than not ). Either way, it was a great experience to meet them and to include them as my family...either or. Although my grandmother, Bettie Johnson, was born in Pine Bluff, Ark, 1905... I only in recent years, thru L.C. LaGrone, my neighbor in St Louis, found out about his industrious family there. I have read the words of Susa LaGrone in the 'Slave Narratives' and they are heartfelt. Still, it is the influence of Roy LaGrone, Airman, that swells our hearts with national pride. He is the LaGrone who draws us near. He is one of several Roy LaGrones..of several William LaGrones...of several John LaGrones...of several LaGrones of unique names, paternal or maternal, all of whom share the pride. Please...try ' 'to help develop our network of families...regardless the surname. Let's share this site!

  13. I was just thinking about your grandfather today. I remember working with him back in the late 80s in New Brunswick. I would help him with the layouts for the Jessie Owens Award program. He was an amazing man. I always enjoyed when he would come in to Downtown Printing and talk about design and typography.