Alma Woodsey Thomas was an African American painter and art educator, born in Columbus, Georgia. In 1907 Alma Woodsey Thomas moved with her family to Washington, where she would later become the first graduate of Howard University’s art department in 1924. Alma Woodsey Thomas received a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Columbia University in 1934 – the first African American woman to do so. Her early paintings were realistic but became geometrically abstract and abstract expressionistic as she matured. Lois Mailou Jones and James V. Herring (both were her professors) influenced her career in art. She was the first female African American to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.