Bipeds of Brookland: Julee Dickerson-Thompson
Julee Dickerson-Thompson was born in Brookland, a middle child of six, just after her parents had bought a house and begun renovating. “Which is why I have no baby pictures. They were knocking down walls around me. They went at it with a vengeance.” Her father was an architect who also enjoyed playing tennis, which is how he met her mother. “They met on a tennis court, and I met my husband on a tennis court. . . Tennis is such a family thing.” Her mother was an artist who started a program called ‘Second Time around Boutique.’ “She taught teenage girls to recycle, nobody knew what recycling was then.” She made beautiful clothes out of tablecloths and upholstery fabric and ties.
Julee has followed in her mother’s footsteps, exposing children to art. Years ago she created workshops where local children could make dolls with dark skin and African American names. Julee designed the logo for Black Classics press and has written and illustrated children’s books including Dance of the Rain Gods, a story which was born while walking her children to school. After the attacks of September 11, 2001 she devised “a peace odyssey that ended with blowing up the bridge with art.” She got permission to have young artists paint the Brookland Bridge, where Monroe Street crosses the train tracks, with memories of those lost in the attacks and other children taken by violence in our city, placing art in the eyes of all who cross the bridge each day. Over the years she has organized many days of visual art and storytelling in Brookland. Some of her work can be seen on her website TheArtofJulee.com.
Julee continues to provide activities for local children to create and experience art through her non-profit organization, Young Masters Inc. “I am getting my kids organized to understand the power and responsibility and opportunity of preserving certain things… In Brookland there are many of us who are intrigued with the history--even as we live it!”
Bipeds of Brookland is a weekly series introducing the people who make Brookland their home, one step at a time. Photo and article by Tom Sabella