Skip to main content

T.J. Reddy to be celebrated with virtual event

Close-up of TJ Reddy in a classroom with student art in the background

Update, December 3, 2020: Atkins Library hosted the virtual panel discussion T.J. Reddy: A Life of Art and Activism on Wednesday, December 2 at 4:00 pm.  (Lisa Homann was not able to participate). View the recording.

Thomas James “T.J”  Reddy was an UNC Charlotte alumnus and a talented artist, poet, musician, and civil rights activist. As a student here, he helped to found the Black Student Union and Africana Studies Department at UNC Charlotte. Along with two other activists, together known as the “Charlotte Three,” Reddy was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for setting a horse stable on fire. After his sentence was commuted by Governor Jim Hunt in 1979 and he was released from prison, Reddy brought art to life with his paintings and poetry. 

Reddy passed away on March 31, 2019, but he is still with us in art and memory. Please join us as we honor and celebrate him in what would have been his 75th year of life.


Akin Ogundiran, Chancellor’s Professor and Professor of Africana Studies, Anthropology & History

  • The Philosophy of T.J. Reddy: Based upon personal conversations with TJ Reddy in 2009-2010 when he served as the first Africana artist-in-residence at UNC Charlotte, Ogundiran’s remarks will focus on TJ Reddy's ideas about social (in)justice, education, creativity, and Africa's freedom. 

Mark I. West, Bonnie E. Cone Professor in Civic Engagement and Professor of English

  • T.J. Reddy as a Community-Based Artist: T.J. Reddy lived in Charlotte for most of his adult life, and he saw himself as an active member of the Charlotte community. West will focus on how Reddy's engagement in the Charlotte community is reflected in his art and in his participation in Charlotte’s cultural/educational groups and organizations.

Lisa Homann, Associate Professor of Art History 

  • T.J. Reddy, Humanist: Based primarily on archival research and close examination of T.J. Reddy’s artworks in the UNC Charlotte art collection, Homann’s contribution will focus on Reddy’s practice as a visual artist, particularly as it intersected with his personal history and social values.

- Dawn Schmitz

Photograph courtesy of Tina Wright