In Memoriam - Douglas R. Williams (1938-2019)

Douglas R. Williams (1938-2019) and son, Doug Williams - Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibit - Museum of Science and Industry - 2018



Mr. Douglas R. Williams

~Artist & Sculptor~ 

Co-founder of Black Creativity MSI and Gallery 37, 1960's Director of SSCAC and Englewood Art Fair

June 27, 1938 – April 2, 2019

Our family welcomes you to join us in celebrating his life

Friday, April 19; 6pm- 9pm, ~Visitation~

Saturday, April 20; 10am ~Wake~, 11am ~Service~, 12pm ~Repass~


Share memories and reminisce with the family and friends


Leak & Sons Funeral Homes

7838 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60619

(773) 846-6567


Floral arrangement donations can be made with Leak & Sons Funeral Homes

In lieu of additional flowers *(beyond a casket spray and two side arrangements)

-Request donations be made to the South Side Community Art Center,

3831 S Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60653 (773) 373-1026


Mr. Douglas Russell Williams, was born June 27, 1938 in Houston, Texas, as the last son of Rev. Walter E. Bland and Miss. Pauline L. Williams.  He was baptized at an early age in Houston by Rev. Norway of St. Stephen Baptist Church.  After attending public schools in Texas, including Harper Jr. High School, he moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1954 with his older sister, Florine E. Shavis.  Then, Douglas quickly joined Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. H. R. Julks and subsequently joining Trinity United Church of Christ, after moving his family to West Chesterfield.  His academic transition, from the South to the North, required some additional course work at Komensky Jr. High School, before joining a freshmen class that furthered integration at Hyde Park High School in the Fall of 1954.  While in high school, he started early involvement on Saturdays at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and received the first place “Raymond Fund” Golden Key Award for sculpture.  This was no surprise given that the former Cub Scout, who carved a prosthetic leg with detailed five toes for a childhood friend, Otis Grant who was injured and unable to afford one. 

As a community conscious artist deeply rooted in the spirit of the civil rights and black arts movements, DW’s (as Dr. Lorenzo Pace affectionately called Doug) dedicated service contributed to significant projects, lasting institutions, and countless mentoring artists relationships.  He co-founded Black Creativity (formerly ‘Black Esthetics’, encouraged by Dr. John Hope Franklin, then member of the Board of Directors at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry) with Earl Calloway (now the longest continuously held juried African American Art exhibit in the U.S.); He was a social performing arts club co-owner of the Brief Reflections (formerly the Alhambra, owned by jazz pianist, Ahmad Jamal); He was a pre-black studies instructor at Columbia College when recommended by his den-mother, Dr. Burroughs, founder of the Du Sable Museum; He contributed greatly to the Lake Meadows Art Fair, Motorola Art Competition, Urban Gateways, Lakeside Gallery, Festival of the Arts at McCormick Place, Art Center and Afam Galleries, Englewood Concourse Art Fair, Henry Horner Chicago Boys Club, Coke’s Black Art Van, Youth Action, Urban Progress Centers, Blue Cross/Blue Shield exhibit, National Conference of Artist Convention, Hyde Park Art Activities and NAACP ACT-SO; He supplied materials for the Wall of Respect; He was a co-founder of On The Beach with Philip Cohran and Gallery 37 with Lois Weisberg; He designed and built “The Luna Landscape” Moon surface for “LM16” at the Museum of Science and Industry; His art is in the collections of the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum, the Chicago Urban League and many art lovers’ private collections; and he designed props for PBS - WTTW’s Bird of An\The Iron Feather – the first Black soap opera … to name a few highlights from Douglas’s art legacy.

Douglas R. Williams is proceeded in death by his father and mother; sisters, Patsey Ruth Williams Payne and Bernice Hutchens; brothers, Henry I. Williams and Charles Williams; grandchild, Auston Scott Williams.  His shared love will be forever relished in the lives of his now widow, Anner E. Williams of Chicago, IL; Sister, Dorothy Cephus of Alta Dina, CA; his children, Mr. Sandy Williams of Gary, IN, Mr. Jason R. Williams of Dallas, TX, Ms. Aisha L. Williams, JD of Westlake Village, CA, and his son, Dr. Douglas A. Williams of Urbana, IL; grandchildren, Mr. Juston Williams of Richmond, VA; Mr. Jeramiah Williams of Dallas, TX and a host of nieces, nephews, kinsfolk and friends.

FeatureI-NOMA Admin