Juanita Patience-Moss will present a lecture about her father, West Pittston-born-and-raised coal artist Edgar Patience, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Luzerne County Historical Society, 69 Rear S. Franklin St., in Wilkes-Barre. After the talk, Patience Moss, a retired teacher living in Alexandria, Virginia, will sign copies of her book about her father, “Anthracite Coal Art by Charles Edgar Patience.”
Edgar began as a coal novelty maker, producing ashtrays, letter openers, crosses, etc. with his father and brother, Harold, in West Pittston. After World War II, Edgar, with the support of his second wife, Alice Patterson, moved to Wilkes-Barre to pursue art.
Toward the end of his career — he worked until his death from pneumonia at age 66 in 1972 — he had success with high profile work such as the sculpture of the Mack Truck bulldog logo for the company’s corporate offices, the seal of the new country of Barbados after its independence in 1966 and a bust of President John F. Kennedy exhibited at the Joseph Grippi Gallery in New York City. He also was the subject of dozens of newspaper articles and featured in Jet and Ebony magazines, the later in 1970, when he was pictured with First Lady Pat Nixon at the Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Crafts Exhibit in Washington, D.C..
Despite it all, time and limited public access to his art may have erased his legacy as one of the most unique artists in the world, but Juanita didn’t let that happen. Examples of Edgar’s art are altars at the King’s College chapel, Wilkes-Barre, and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Hanover Township and busts of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, but much his art is in private collections. Juanita has some pieces, which she inherited from her stepmother.
Juanita will also talk about her solving of the mystery of her father’s monolith, which was commissioned by and delivered to, but never exhibited by the Smithsonian in Washington, and her subsequent successful campaign to get a Edgar Patience exhibit in the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
Tickets to the lecture are free for LCHS members and $5 for non-members. For reservations or information, call 570-823-6244 ext. 3 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Moss is the author of seven other books. She began her writing career with “Created to be Free” after she discovered her great-grandfather, Crowder Pacien, a freed South Carolina slave, had served in a white regiment in the Civil War. Experts told her that was impossible, but she persevered in her research and discovered more than 3,000 former slaves had served in white Union units.
Her dogged persistence in uncovering the truth serves her well in her continuing campaign to preserve her father’s legacy. Now Juanita, 87, has some help. Her daughter, Brenda Moss Green, who will be with her at the lecture, and Jason Patience, the son of her cousin Lloyd Patience, are going to carry the legacy for future generations.