Montgomery, Alabama, and Detroit, Michigan, 1939 - 49
William Traylor worked most of his life farming as a sharecropper or tenant farmer until old age and arthritis put an end to that, but not work. After his wife died and however many of their twenty two children had survived and scattered, he moved to Montgomery where he was employed in a shoe factory for a while, then he was homeless, living in the back of a funeral parlor. He sold pencils on the street and started to draw. A young artist, Charles Shannon, met him on the street, admired his work, began supplying him with materials and purchasing as much as he could. In his short ten year career Bill produced over a thousand pictures. Shannon also organized a couple of exhibits of Bill’s drawings in Alabama and New York. Mr Traylor said that the sources for his drawings were his memories of his long life. They are all remarkably readable and, taken together, form a very eloquent mémoire .