A MAN OF MANY STYLES AND INTEREST
ARTIST - Puppet & Marionette Designer - Art Therapist - Ceramist - Mural Designer - Theater Technical Set Director - TEACHER
ANDRE' DUMONT SWANCY
1950's High School
Andre' Swancy was a 1954 Sumner High School Kansas City, Kansas, graduate. The school was named after Charles Sumner, a prominent abolitionist and senator in the mid - 1800's.
Sumner High School had a reputation for excellent education and today that transition continues as a college prep school. The name is now Sumner Academy for Arts and Science, Sumner is consistently ranked among the best school in America. Graduates have become successful scholars, writers and inventors. Andre" I got one of the best education from one of the top schools, I had shop classes, sheet metal, woodworking, and Art, drama, music, track and teachers that were educators, it got no better than that." We were told that our learning was about "Reading, Writing and Arithmetic."
MILITARY ENLISTMENT (after high school graduation)
Swancy served four years in the military, was a squadron leader and a gunner on a B52. He and his friend and high school buddy, John Sebron, were allowed to remain together.
They got lucky, was young, scared, smart and cocky. The Korean war was no picnic. They came home with honorable discharges and went to college together.
The University of Kansas. The largest University in the State of Kansas.
(Name for Student Body)
Campus known as the Hill Students had to climb a long high hill to the campus.
Swancy reunited with many acquaintances he knew from the area he lived in Kansas City, KS and his old High School.
He was a freshmen who partied and goofed off the first semester, as many students do, and got suspended for initiating a panty raid on the girls dormitory. Feeling bad, Swancy designed and built furniture for the girls dormitory. He was forgiven and today they still brag about how good they were living after that stunt and they loved him. His name became known on campus as decorator and furniture designer. He got the message and decided to study and use his brain and talent.
His major was Industrial Design, Minor was Fine Arts switching at some point to Theater Design where he became a paid student staff assistant to the department director. Swancy directed several plays, became trained in lighting effects as well as stage management and set design.
What came next?
Swancy and his buddy John Seborn, pledged, Alpha Phi Alpha Upsilon Chapter, which stressed academic excellence among its members and also recognize the need to help correct the educational, economic, political, and social injustices faced by African Americans. ALPHA has long stood at the forefront of African American community fight for civil rights through leaders such as; Dubois, Adam Clayton Powell, Edward Brooks, Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young. William Gray, Paul Robeson, and many others.
ALPHA UPSILON CHAPTER (Swancy back roll)
click picture for larger image
These group of men like to have hair cuts, shoes shined and wear suits, ties and hats, hold their heads high and chest extended, all were from upper middle-class families most became famous in their chosen field. artist, Inventors, lawyers, successful business , ambassadors, doctors, long time marriages with children and choose to live in different states. All had talent, egos and brains.They had a long lasting bond and respect for each other.
Swancy liked to wear his artist beret and stated; his other name was Goya, he was also a famous artist. With his beret and his books he was called; the book man, one never saw him without a book for seventy 76 years. He would have one in his hand or pocket and man bag. He was called a good artist and a walking encyclopedia by those who knew him.
The Swancy in this photo had no intentions of getting married. He was happy with drawing, designing, going to the library, dating and having fun. He loved to talk and debate.
One day the love bug bit him instantly, his wife Evelyn of 53 years, drove her friend Wanda to the Alpha House. Wanda wanted to get a date to the annual ball of the year given by the Alpha's. The campus was 35 miles from Kansas City, Kansas.
Swancy was taking a bus to KC. His Alpha buddies asked if he could get a ride, he was playing the shy roll. Yes, was the answer, Hop in!
Wanda had no luck because all the guys there had someone for the ball. She asked Swancy in the car if he wanted to take her to ball and much to our surprise he said; no, I'd rather take Evelyn, and boldly asked Evelyn in front of her to be his date. Told Wanda he would get her a date and he did.
Now, Evelyn had admired Swancy in high school and was impressed with his talent. He was well know because he was in every activity. She secretly wanted to go the ball with him but played hard to get and told him she could let him know in a couple of days. He took the phone number and did call. She excepted because she heard several girls were wanting him to ask them to the ball, it was the event of the year and he was available.
He loved to stand out so he wore tennis shoes with a Tuxedo. The band put the spot light on his shoes while they danced. She left him standing on the dance floor and got someone else to take her home. She avoided his phone calls for weeks. He was different. He had other shoes, plenty. Just loved attention. They finally spoke by this time it was funny. They got together, dated, went to the next years Alpha Ball and nearly every man had on tennis shoes with their formal attire but Swancy, he had started a fad. "Ironic"! He felt vindicated an proud.
A year later Swancy asked; Evelyn to marry him over the telephone. He did not want her to see his face if she said; no. The marriage took place in Omaha, NE 1959. Whenever, Swancy was asked how they met, Swancy replied; he was hitch- hiking and she picked me up.
The Swancy's lived five blocks near the KU campus in a great looking rental house, they wanted to buy the house but there was hidden clauses in the home owners association of that area, they would never sell any house to anyone that was not white, they offered a lifetime lease after every member of the association stated they wanted the "cute little couple" to be their neighbor. LOL
Swancy cared less, he was not trying to integrate, just have a nice place to live near the campus till he finished school.
Swancy continued to teach in the University of Kansas theater department, design sets, technical lighting effects, make-up artist and costume design. He did a magnificent job as make-up artist for "The Hunch Back of Notre dame". Swancy was very excited to produce and Direct, Peter Pan. He invited all his family members to see the play and said he decided to perform as a character. The whole family went and all during the show kept watching for Swancy to come out on the stage, he never did. Everyone asked; Why he was not in the play and he replied; I was. Did you hear the bell ring for tinkle bell?, that was me. No one could learn to ring on cue so I rang the bell myself, You must admit it sound good. The whole family bust out laughing. Swancy was always a riot.
Swancy directed other plays at KU, Peter Pan was fun and one he truly enjoyed the most!
After the end of the studies at the University, Swancy's moved to Omaha, Nebraska! See page titled, Artworks in Omaha, Nebraska!. Swancy goes to Gus Renze Silk screening Company! As his interest grew so did the styles.