A picture of Representative James A. Himes
James H.
Democrat CT 4

About Rep. James
  • Honoring the Life of Tracy A. Sugarman

    by Representative James A. Himes

    Posted on 2013-02-04

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    HIMES of connecticut in the house of representatives Monday, February 4, 2013 Mr. HIMES. Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, January 20, we lost a cherished and dearly loved member of our community. Tracy Sugarman lit up the town of Westport, Connecticut, for 60 years with his ceaseless generosity, well-known sense of humor, and passion for social justice.

    Mr. Sugarman served as a naval officer in World War II, leading troops up Normandy during the historic D-Day assault. His courage and fortitude in battle are emblematic of the heroism of the ``Greatest Generation.'' As an acclaimed illustrator and chronicler of the Civil Rights Movement, Mr. Sugarman bore witness to the many struggles faced by African Americans living in the Deep South. Mr. Sugarman's drawings helped bring to national attention the horrors of 1960's Mississippi, where black Americans faced threats of violence and death for registering to vote or attending a desegregated school.

    Mr. Sugarman's sketches of major news events appeared in hundreds of magazines, books, and other media across the country. He brought his skilled and emotional work to the Saturday Evening Post, Forbes Magazine, Louis Armstrong record covers, and hundreds of children's books.

    Mr. Sugarman's artwork is, by all counts, his greatest legacy: his drawings of the Civil Rights Movement are permanent archives in Mississippi and New York City. His painting, ``The Heroes of Nine- Eleven,'' is on permanent display in Washington, DC. His painting of the Space Shuttle Columbia is part of NASA's archives at Cape Kennedy. And his collection of art from World War II is in use by the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project.

    Mr. Sugarman also wrote a number of books, many relating to his experiences in the South. ``Stranger at the Gate--A Summer in Mississippi'' details the Freedom Summer of 1964, during which more than 1,000 volunteers flooded rural Mississippi to register voters; ``We Had Sneakers, They Had Guns: the Kids Who Fought for Civil Rights in Mississippi'' recounts the civil rights work of white college students, many of whom were arrested and beaten.

    Whether it was in writing or on canvas, Mr. Sugarman brought to his work artful introspection, keen awareness, and brutal honesty. His strong dedication to his fellow man--and particularly to his community here in Connecticut--will be sorely missed.


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