This American educator turned painter and art ambassador was unfaltering in her pursuit of beauty and became a ground-breaker for Black artists in the mid century and beyond. Alma Thomas’ life was full of firsts. She was the first of four children and was in the inaugural class of graduates for Howard University’s first Fine Arts program. In 1938 she opened the first art gallery in a Washington DC public school. Three decades later Thomas became the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. And 40 years after her death, Thomas’ work was selected by First Lady Michelle Obama to hang on the walls of the White House.