Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of


the first full-length documentary about Beauford.

Join us in making this video tribute to Beauford a reality!



Saturday, February 13, 2021

Beauford's Black Mentor

If you know Beauford's life story, chances are great that you've heard about Lloyd Branson, the white Confederate apologist who put aside his prejudices to give a teenaged Beauford art lessons and encourage him to undertake formal study in Boston.

You may not have heard of another man - a black man - who also significantly influenced young Beauford's life.

His name was Charles Cansler.

Charles W. Cansler in 1930
Fair use claim

BlackPast.org reports that Charles Warner Cansler (1871-1953) was a railway mail clerk, lawyer, educator, and noted mathematician, who spent most of his life working to better the lives of African Americans in Eastern Tennessee by way of education. He began teaching at Austin High School, the city's only high school for black students, in 1900, and became principal there in 1911.

Austin High School moved to a new location and was re-baptised Knoxville Colored High School in 1916. Cansler was principal there as well.

Beauford entered high school at the age of fourteen and was a pupil during Cansler's tenure as principal. Biographer David Leeming indicates that Cansler would invite Beauford to his home at that young age.

Cansler was accustomed to welcoming black celebrities such as classical singer Roland Hayes and writer/civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson into his home, and he would provide Beauford with letters of introduction to prominent members of Boston society when Beauford moved there in 1923. 

Beauford went on to meet Hayes and Johnson in Boston. These and other acquaintances made because of Cansler's introductions (and those provided by members of Beauford's church) influenced Beauford's sociopolitical awareness and fed his love of and appreciation for classical music.


Sassysis2 said...

Where is Mr. Delaney interred?

Les Amis de Beauford Delaney said...

He is buried at Thiais Cemetery.