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Roscoe Dunjee, 1883-1965

by Simmie Knox

Commissioned by the 2003-2005 Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus
Dimensions: 40 x 30
Dedicated May 24, 2005

Roscoe Dunjee, 1883-1965 by Simmie Knox
Photo by John Jernigan

The Artwork

Oklahoma journalist and publisher Roscoe Dunjee founded the nationally known Oklahoma City Black Dispatch newspaper in 1915 and shaped American history, serving as spokesman and leader in the civil rights movement. An early leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), his actions impacted changes in discriminatory practices for the nation. The son of a Baptist minister, Dunjee came to Oklahoma in 1892.

The Artist

Simmie Knox
Simmie Knox

Regarding his work, Simmie Knox states, “I think that a good portrait is the most difficult thing for an artist to bring off successfully. Not only must you get an accurate likeness but you must also create a good painting. Somehow you must convey a subject’s character, spirit and personality; and everything must communicate the dynamism of the subject.”

Since 1981, Knox has specialized in portraiture. He earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Pennsylvania. Knox was commissioned to paint the official portrait of former President Bill Clinton, resulting in Knox becoming the first African American to ever paint an official portrait of an American president. Knox has painted portraits of U.S. congressmen and state senators, civic leaders, celebrities, and religious leaders.