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Al Black

TB History Center Showcases Florida Highwaymen Art

Jul 22, 2014
Tampa Bay History Center

Back in the 1950s and '60s, a group of African-Americans, known as the Highwaymen, sold Florida landscape paintings to locals and tourists on the side of the road. The paintings were sold for only a few bucks at the time but after the '90s, their value soared. The Tampa Bay History Center is showcasing these prized paintings.

In the 1960s, Al Black could be found cruising up and down Route 1 in his blue-and-white Ford Galaxy — with a trunk full of wet landscape paintings.

At the time, he was a salesman who could snatch your breath away and sell it back to you. As artist Mary Ann Carroll puts it, he could "sell a jacket to a mosquito in summer."

"A salesman is a con-man," Black readily admits himself today. He's a storyteller. And does he have stories to tell.