Charles Alston, portraitist, muralist, figurative and abstract painter, kept a careful balance between his role as an artist and art educator. Born on November 28, 1907 (Thanksgiving Day), to the Reverend Primus Priss Alston and Anna Elizabeth Alston of Charlotte, North Carolina, Alston was the youngest of five siblings, one of only three to survive infancy. His father died when Charles was three. His mother, a very young widow, accepted the marriage proposal of her former classmate, Harry Bearden, uncle of artist Romare Bearden. Two children were born to this union. One daughter, Elizabeth, died of polio in 1916.