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4 Dec 2022
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For Outer Banks artist James Melvin maya be the best of the remarkable painters who live on the Outer Banks. He has painted everything from street scenes in Caribbean, to beach scenes of the Outer Banks, and along the way has illustrated the children’s books of Suzanne Tate.

His most recent portrait of civil right icon Ruby Bridges may be his best.

At six years of age, Ruby Bridges was the lone Black child allowed to attend William Frantz School in New Orleans in 1960. To protect her from the mob gathered outside she had to be escorted to school by US Federal Marshals. No white parent that first year would allow their children to be in the classroom with her and she sat alone each day. 

Yet she kept going, and over time she has built a remarkable legacy of giving back to the community and society with her children’s books on her experiences  her Ruby Bridges Foundation that works to achieve equal opportunity and integration in schools.

When she was on the Outer Banks visiting last year, a friend of James Melvin snapped a picture of her and he went to work creating a wonderful portrait of her looking out over the beach.

He will not sell the painting, and has instead asked that be housed at the second floor lobby of the new College of the Albemarle  building on the Manteo campus—the Keeper Richard Etheridge Lobby, named after the first African American US Lifesaving Service Station Keeper. 

There was a brief ceremony announcing that on Friday and at that time, tentative plans to loan the painting to other locations were disclosed, although nothing definitive has been decided to date.

The Outer Bank truly is a gathering place of people from all walks of life and thoughts. Its a relaxing and comfortable place to visit and we hope you’ll stop by and check out our Brindley Beach Vacations hospitality.