Harold Silvester Dorsey, Sr. was born on May 2, 1937 in Jackson, Mississippi, the fourth of ten children to Hattie Bell Loflin Dorsey, a school teacher and Eugene Dorsey,Sr., an entrepreneur. Together they owned several businesses - a motel, grocery store, gas station and jukebox company to name a few.
Harold attended Holy Ghost Catholic Elementary School where his love of art began at a young age while sketching animals. This love was fostered by elementary school teachers, friends and family, especially his grandmother, Mary Lucas. Big Momma, as she was known, held a special place in Harold’s heart. Harold went on to attend Lanier High School where his artistic abilities started to take form. The renowned Jeff Donaldson was Harold’s high school teacher/mentor, and the one to introduce him to a university art program. This was just the beginning of his lifelong love of art.
In 1960, Harold earned his BA from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas AM& N) on a full academic scholarship. He also spent a semester at Tougaloo College. He received his MFA from Northwestern University on an esteemed Ford Foundation Fellowship - one of his proudest achievements. In addition, Harold was recently inducted into the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Hall of Fame.
He taught and/or worked at many Universities including Mississippi State University, Jackson State University, Tougaloo College, Alcorn State University, Grambling University and the University of Colorado, among others. For the last 20 years, he taught at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, before retiring in 2008.
Harold’s art went beyond drawing and sculpting. He wove history and culture into his craft. He believed “black artists must become cultural stabilizers; enlightening our people of our ancient past before Africa was raped of all that was holy. The black culture carrier must reconstruct the black cultural heritage. He must restore old values, introduce new ones and direct his people toward togetherness.”
Harold loved educating himself and others in addition to reading. One book he loved and read over and over again was Richard Wright’s, Black Boy. It gave him great pleasure to re-read and analyze this book. So much so that he created a terra-cotta sculpture entitled, “Black Boy.” This sculpture is now housed in the Smith Robertson Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.
Harold loved his grandchildren - always boasting about them and their talents. He often told them about the importance of education and doing well. Grandpa Harold would tell them stories of his past and journeys he had taken. He was always teaching. In fact, his family and friends affectionately referred to him as professor. He believed that history and art were among the many things that tie generations of family to one another. He loved to play and joke. Laughter and happiness were important to him. But most of all, he lived his life to the fullest and exactly how he wanted!
Harold is preceded in death by his beloved brothers, Curtis Dorsey, Eddie Dorsey, Harvey Dorsey and older sister, Leontyne Fizer.
He leaves to cherish his memory three children with his former wife, Annie Ruth Johnson Leslie; Harold Dorsey, Jr., of Jackson MS., Sophia Dorsey King (Alan) of Chicago, IL and Jamilah Dorsey of Chicago IL; two sons: Chris Dorsey of St. Louis, MO and Derek Matory of Atlanta GA.; five siblings: Eugene Dorsey, Dock Dorsey, Mae Jean Wallace, Ivory Joe Dorsey and Jackie Dorsey; grandchildren: Ebonique Wool, Alexis King, Akili King, Harold Girum Dorsey, Isaiah Wool, Adawa Dorsey, Leighah-Amori Wool, Dr. Christina Marie Smith and Reggie Smith; great granddaughter, Amira Haruna; and a host of other family and friends.
Visitation hours will be Friday, November 20, 2020, from 12-7 p.m. at Peoples Funeral Home, located at 886 N. Farish St - Jackson, MS 39202.
Funeral service will be held at Woodworth Chapel, located at 6550 Tougaloo Blvd - Tougaloo, MS 39174 on Saturday, November 21, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. (Social Distancing and a mask will be required for entry and participation in the funeral service at Woodworth Chapel on Saturday)
Interment will follow at Elmwood Cemetery - Jackson, MS.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Tougaloo College, The Hogan Scholarship Fund In Memory of Harold S. Dorsey, P.O. Box 364, Tougaloo MS 39174 www.tougaloo.edu
You may post your kind words of comfort for the Dorsey family at https://peoplesfuneralhome.biz or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 601-969-3040 - Fax: 601-355-4707
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Harold S. Dorsey, Sr., please visit our floral store.