Profile: Winfred Rembert (1945-)

Winfred Rembert is an African-American artist who hand-tools and paints on leather canvases. Rembert grew up in Cuthbert, Georgia, where he spent much of his childhood laboring in the cotton fields. He was arrested during a 1960s civil rights march. As a prisoner, he learned to make tooled-leather wallets and design on leather. Rembert stretches, stains, and etches on leather and creates scenes from the rural Southern town where he was born and raised.

An award winning documentary film about his life, All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, was released in 2011. It has won awards at the Chicago International Film Festival, Salem Film Fest, Heartland Film Festival, Arlington International Film Festival , Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival (now called the Hamptons Doc Fest), the Newark Black Film Festival and the Northhampton International Film Festival.

Another short documentary, Ashes to Ashes, honoring victims of lynchings in the south, featured Rembert, the “only known survivor of a lynching.” Ashes to Ashespremiered at the Mountainfilm Festival on May 24, 2019

Early life

Winfred Rembert was born on November 22, 1945, in Cuthbert, Randolph County, in the US state Georgia. Raised by his aunt after his mother cheated on her husband, he worked in the cotton fields, making as little as 20 cents per day. Him laboring, in fact, caused him to miss school only two days a week (he could not read or write until high school). But with more tension in the racism around his neighborhood, he cut school at the age of 16.

Rembert has been the subject of two documentaries and several news stories where he is reported to be one of only a few people known to have survived a lynching during the Jim Crow era

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