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Gloria Gipson Suggs

2022 Mississippi Fellow

Gloria Gipson Suggs

Recipient Information


Holly Springs, Mississippi



Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Southern Prize and State Fellowships

Grant Amount


Artist Statement

The preservation of heritage and cultural pride through visual art. The style used in my drawings is primitive Impressionism. The media are crayon, pencils, markers and pens on art paper. All of my paintings are done on 3 sections of the paper with each section intersecting the section above it in order to produce a 3 dimensional affect. The color of the faces in my paintings are done with mahogany. This color was used to show the glow of the sun on people faces as seen by my inner child. My work depicts people, places, and things from the Civil War, Depression, and the Desegregation Eras as passed down through folklore, written and oral history, photographs my own experience. My career as an educator for 20 plus years was brought to a sudden halt after several accidents. So, I turned to art which I loved as a child. During my recovery period, I started a collection of paintings called the Reflection and Road Side Series. Because of the development of Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD) from a head injury, I have severe muscle problems. So you will see several time-intensive paintings that were done before 2019. My ancestors used pigments from plants as their media and wood, cloth, and brown paper as their canvases. I use crayon, markers, pens and pencils as media and art paper as canvases trying to produce the same natural colors in my art.


Gloria Gipson Suggs, a native and resident of Marshall County Mississippi, attended Henry Elementary (one and two room) School near Slayden, MS and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Holly Springs, MS. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Rust College in Holly Springs. Gloria earned a Master Degree in Curriculum Development and Instruction at Memphis State University, now University of Memphis, in Memphis, TN. Suggs taught school in Tennessee in the public and private sectors for over 28 years. She taught the first two years of her teaching career in Clarksdale City Schools, Clarksdale, MS. Suggs served as program director and coordinator for the alternative program for Marshall County and Holly Springs School Districts.

Gloria received the following citations for her work as an educator: Leadership award - Coordinator and Workshop Presenter, Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering (SECME), 1981; Leadership Award - Computer Literacy Workshop, Memphis City School, Memphis, TN, 1989; Merit Award - Sigma XI Science Teaching and Research Promotion, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN, 1982; Teacher Leadership Award - The National Association of Pre-College Directors and SECME, Memphis State University, Memphis, TN, 1988; Instructor Of The Year - Southeast College of Technology, Memphis, TN, 1988; Leadership Award - Alternative Education, Mayor Jim Rout, Shelby County, TN, 1995; "Cultivating Our Minds And Spirits" Award, Hughes and Raimey 17th Family Reunion, Hudsonville Church, Holly Springs, MS, 2012, "Woman Of The Year-2013", Burns United Methodist Church, Oxford, MS.

Gloria's new book, Piece-A-Way Crossroads, is a work of fiction based on the life of a couple, who lived in Marshall County, MS from the 1930s through the 1960s. It is written from the perspective of Jeannie, one of their daughters, who invites the reader to come piece-away with her as she tells their story. Jeanie introduces some of the people, places, and events her parents encountered during beautiful, difficult, and sometimes turbulent times-the Great Depression and Desegregation issues. Jeannie integrates stories, poetry and art into the storytelling format, providing the reader with a link to the past by exploring how her parents dealt with these difficult and sensitive situations and issues. A lesson can be learned from their hard work, perseverance, and foresight in preparing their children for the future through education in a time when it was not the popular path. This book may be purchased by visiting, phone 1800788-7654. For reading and book signing events, contact Gloria Gipson Suggs at (662)551-8648 and

Suggs has received the following awards for her work in the literary, performing, and visual arts: The Double Decker Artist Merit Award 2008, Oxford, MS; Outstanding Leadership Award 2008, Hudsonville C.M.E. Church, Marshall County, MS; "Aretha Payne Scholarship Foundation" Appreciation Award, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Martin Luther King Center, Memphis, TN, 1994; Outstanding Contribution to The Community Award 1995, Memphis City Council, Memphis, TN, 1995; Certificate of Appreciation 1995, Shelby County, TN.

Channel 9 of Tupelo, MS, Fox 13, WMC TV5, ABC 24 and 30 of Memphis, TN, WURC of Rust College and WKNA of Holly Springs, MS have spotlighted Suggs’ work. Gloria has exhibited in Ida B. Wells Museum, Marshall County Museum, and Annie’s Restaurant of Holly Springs, MS, Martin Luther King Civil Rights Museum, The Black Arts Gallery, D. Edge Art Gallery in Memphis, TN. Gloria has participated in the following arts and crafts festivals: DuSable Museum, Chicago, IL, The Gathering, Nashville, TN, Carthage, MS, Corinth, MS, Holly Springs, MS, Senatobia, MS, South Haven, MS, Ripley, MS, Germantown Festival, Germantown, TN, Atlanta, GA, Pink Palace Museum Craft show of Memphis, TN, and the Double Decker, Oxford, MS. The Commercial Appeal, The South Reporter, The Busy Bee, and Tupelo Sunday Journal have written about Suggs’ work.

Suggs exhibited her work and conducted workshops at The B.J. Chain Public Library, Olive Branch, MS, La Fayette County & Oxford Public Library in Oxford, MS, and the Corinth Public Library in Corinth, MS. Gloria presented her work at the 2012 Lyceum Series at Rust College in Holly Springs, MS. 

Gloria Gipson Suggs wrote her first book, Wind-blown Memories, in 1988. Her second book, Reflections in Black and White with Shades of Red, Yellow, and Brown was written in 1998. She produced her first single record called, “Steep is the Stairway to Heaven” in 1983. Suggs produced an album of eight contemporary gospel songs called “Such A Beautiful Day” on CD in 1990.Gloria was a movie extra in The Client in 1990.

Gloria is married to Franklin Suggs of Chulahoma, MS. They have two children, Michael and Linda, a son-in-law, Horacio, and a grandson, Langston. Gloria is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Holly Springs, MS.

“Preservation of Heritage and Cultural Pride through Art, Poetry, and Songs”