M. B. Mayfield Collection

Ecru, Mississippi artist M. B. Mayfield (1923-2005) famously studied art from a broom closet while working as a janitor for the Art Department at the University of Mississippi. Though he is often considered the "first African American to study at Ole Miss," he was never officially enrolled. His paintings are known for their sophisticated sense of perspective and color when compared to other folk art.

In 2020, Mayfield's home was purchased by a local businessman for the town of Ecru to create a museum devoted to Mayfield's work. After restoration, it is hoped that the house can be added to the National Registry of Historic Places.

In the spring of 2021, Dr. Brian Foster's class (Southern Studies 560, "Oral Histories of Southern Social Movements"), part of M Partner’s collaboration with the Town of Ecru, collected a series of oral histories focused on the life and art of M. B. Mayfield.

Image credit: McGee's Cotton Gin, M. B. Mayfield. Photo by Austin Lambert


Browse the M. B. Mayfield Collection:

Oral History Interviews