Sherrod’s art auctioned for SMU scholarship

This story was published by The Dallas Morning News on May 28, 2013. Blackie Sherrod was president of the FWAA in 1963, when he worked for the Dallas Times Herald. He won the Bert McGrane Award in 1985, after moving to The Dallas Morning News.

By Corbett Smith

The Dallas Morning News

blackie sherrod

Blackie Sherrod

The irony was thick, she agreed. Wonder what Smiley — Blackie’s old moniker for Jones — would say about that?

That snippet of humor was something Sherrod rarely missed hitting on during his nearly 60-year career as a writer, working for The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Press.

Sherrod donated more than 200 pieces of his own artwork, sold at a silent auction Tuesday night for the creation of a scholarship for the Division of Journalism at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Joyce Sherrod said the auction was a great opportunity for Sherrod, 93, to interact with his many fans, and for his artwork to be “put to use.”

“It’s a blessing,” Joyce Sherrod said. “I’ve known for as long as I’ve been in his life that he has a lot of fans. People come up to me wherever I am and say, ‘I’ve read him all my life.’ Always interested. … I get that all the time.”

While the subject of much of his artwork was heavy — addressing the status of American Indians in modern America — Sherrod’s treatment showed the humorist’s touch.

“He paints like he writes,” was a comment overheard at the auction.

Former colleague Dan Jenkins, in a quip during a Q&A with Dallas Morning News sports columnist Kevin Sherrington, disagreed. “By the way, he’s a much better writer and editor than he is a painter. Not that he’s a bad painter, but he was a great writer and great editor. I always thought he was as good a newspaperman as I ever knew. Still do.”

Jenkins, one of sportswriting’s most prominent voices, told several stories about his time working with Sherrod. Jenkins got his start fresh out of Fort Worth Paschal, hired by Sherrod at the Press — where Sherrod assembled a staff that would end as a Who’s Who of Texas sportswriters: Jenkins, Bud Shrake and Gary Cartwright.

“Blackie was just our leader,” Jenkins said. “All we wanted to do was please Blackie,” Jenkins said. “We wanted to stay off the bulletin board. He had a cork bulletin board that if anybody was a little too precious, a little too pretentious, a little too literary, we wound up on the bulletin board. Your chore in life was to stay off of Blackie’s bulletin board.”

Jerre Todd, who worked with Sherrod and Jenkins at the Press, called his time there a dream job.

“You didn’t care about the money,” Todd said. “You couldn’t wait for the next day.”