JOSIE D. HEARD A.M.E. CHURCH (1946)
(On Sunday Morning) To the bottom
By the early autumn of 1923, John Henry Clark, Sr. and his family had settled in Manayunk, Pennsylvania, a small town not far from the city of Philadelphia. Mr. Clark had arrived earlier that year to find work, and his wife Estelle Graham Clark, with five children had arrived in late summer from Southern Georgia by way of Orlando, Florida.
Claude Clark recalls that by 1924, he and his brothers and sister were attending church and Sunday school in one side of a duplex house. The church was named Josie D. Heard A.M.E. Josie was the wife of Bishop R.D. Heard. By 1929, the church had bought the entire building, and rebuilt the structure. The cornerstone was laid in 1930.
Young Claude was involved in activities at church during his childhood and youth. In Sunday School he was both student and teacher. He participated in choir, church plays, picnics, prayer meetings and other church programs.
Clark says: "Between Josie D. Heard A.M.E. and my family at home, a socializing process took place that helped to shape my life." Claude has made several paintings of this church since the 1930's; one (titled "My Church") is in the collection of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and the largest painting ("On Sunday Morning") of the church is now in the collection of Drs. Camille O. and William Cosby Jr. (see painting shown at the top of this page). Both paintings were done in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Revised: August 22, 1998.
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