Our Time Press

Transitions: Claudine Brown and Ida Turner


Claudine Brown

 From Dawoud Bey

Claudine Brown
Claudine Brown

I met this brilliant woman many years ago in the 1970s. She was part of a community of friends I met early on who had all come out of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. They were among the first artists I came to know as I spent time in, and then moved to, the Clinton Hill neighborhood where Pratt is located.


Claudine was a museum educator when I met her working at the Brooklyn Museum from 1977-1982, then moving on to positions as manager of school and community programs (1982-1984), and then assistant director for government and community relations (1985-1990) for that institution. She joined the Smithsonian in 1990 to serve as the director of the National African-American Museum Project, taking that initiative to its final proposal for a National African-American Museum of History and Culture. Such a museum will now be opening in the fall of 2016. In 1991, she also became the deputy assistant secretary for the arts and humanities and developed policy for many Smithsonian museums.


Claudine held other positions as well, including director of arts and culture programs at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and then returning to the Smithsonian Institution as assistant secretary for education and access. In all of her work, she labored tirelessly–through the creation of policies and programs–to make the art/culture/educational experience one that was accessible to all…including those who had long been left out of the parameters of consideration when said policy and programs were being shaped and implemented.


I was quietly in awe of Claudine Brown, and told her so. I once saw her speak at a conference for an hour or more, with no notes, giving an inspired, engaging, detailed and deeply knowledgeable talk on art, culture and institutional policy and access that touched on so many salient points which she wove together into a memorable narrative and a call to action on the part of the audience.


Her BA from Pratt Institute, followed by her Master’s in Museum Education from Bank Street School College of Education, and finally her Juris Doctor law degree from Brooklyn College all attest to her desire to secure the knowledge and tools necessary to effect institutional and societal change. She made that her life’s work and succeeded in ways that will continue to resonate for a very long time.


You will be missed Claudine, but your work, presence and brilliance will remain as eternal inspirations. (Asé..and so it shall be.)


From Nadia Fattah

Claudine Brown was a past president of Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA). She is responsible for professionalizing GIA and laid the groundwork for our racial equity work. Her positions for the Smithsonian Institute included director of the National African-American Museum Project (1990 to 1995), Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Arts and Humanities, Deputy Secretary of Education and Access.


She was a fierce and gentle person, intelligent and powerful. She was part of the group that helped mentor me at GIA. She was beloved in our field and those of us who were fortunate enough to know her carry her inspiration with us.





Ida Turner
Ida Turner

Ida Turner, 100, of Jupiter, Florida, passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at home with family in Dallas, Georgia.

Born June 10, 1915 in Blakely, Georgia, Ida is predeceased by her parents, Corry and Ella (Humphrey) Ford of Jupiter, Florida and her late husband, Lee Arthur Turner of Swainsboro, Georgia.


The youngest of seven siblings, Ida was also preceded in death by her brothers and sisters: William (Willie Vera Slaton); Hattie (Clifton Hodge, Sr.); Kinsey (Adabelle Sapp); Mahalia (Luther Smith); Matilda (Ernest Pearson); Corry, Jr. (Arlene March).


Ida worked in the service employ of many notable families throughout her life.   Employers included Bessie DuBois, Harold S. Vanderbilt, James Roosevelt (FDR’s son), Betsey Cushing Roosevelt, Loni Anderson and Burt Reynolds.  A member of the culinary staff of the United States Naval Air Station Officers Club at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York numbered high among the most memorable and favorite places in which she was publicly employed.


Ida and Lee met in West Palm Beach in the 1930’s.  Working at times as a team in both Palm Beach and Jupiter Island, they would by 1938 transfer their skills and relationships to New York City.  They made their home in Harlem and married in 1943 producing six children: Lana (1950), Linda Lee (1950), Beverly (1952), Dennis (1955), Deborah Ann (1957) and Darrell (1959).  LaRose (1935), daughter of Lee’s previous marriage, came as a teenager to live with Ida and Lee in New York and was adopted as the eldest of their children.  One daughter, Beverly (1952-1988), preceded Ida in death.


An active and faithful member of Gospel Temple Church of God in Christ, Inc., New York City and Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Jupiter, Florida, Ida served enthusiastically on usher boards, choirs, auxillaries and special programs. She loved all the ways she could serve her God, church and neighborhood communities.


In addition to the named children above, Ida is survived by son-in-laws: Craig Lee Simmons (Linda); King Solomon Lawson (Beverly); and Negrill George DeSouza (Deborah Ann) and one daughter-in-law, Allene “Arlene” Ingram (Darrell).  A host of surviving relatives include:  24 grandchildren; 40 great-grandchildren; 14 great-great-grandchildren; 10 nieces and 4 nephews.


Services will be held at the Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church and Cemetery, 6823 East Church Street, Jupiter, Florida.


Family visitation will be held from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM on Friday, March 18, 2016 at the church.


The funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM. Reverend Michael S. Maeweathers, Sr. is the officiant.  Burial will follow the service.


Memorial contributions may be made to Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, 6823 East Church Street, Jupiter, Florida 33458.


Flowers, cards and notes may be sent to The Turner Family, c/o Brown Funeral Home, 1004 South Dixie Highway, Lantana, Florida 33462.


Funeral arrangements are in the care of the Brown Funeral Home of Lantana.





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