Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts 2023

Edie Lynch

Edie Lynch was born in Akron, Ohio where her love for the Arts was nurtured by watching the riveting, live big dance bands perform at her father’s nightclub, the Cosmopolitan, his Lake Glen Country Club, and the Public East Market Gardens. Her father was called “The Joy Boy.”

Lynch thought every little girl got to practice her ballet with Count Basie’s Band, chat with Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine, and watch the dancers and show girls slip in and out of costumes and join the neon lit lights of the band stage. Hard economic times hit when she was fifteen and her father had to close his businesses, and Lynch entered the work force, first joining the Democratic Party as a volunteer intern and then working  as a typist/secretary who took part in all of the campaign rallies.

Lynch left her job to attend Ohio State University where she majored in Social Studies, but after a year of studies she left to marry an Airforce jet pilot who had his Masters in Bacteriology from Ohio State but wanted to be a doctor. Her husband went to Philadelphia to attend medical school while she stayed in Ohio to raise their son and daughter and work three jobs. Tiring of the heavy work load, she joined her husband in Philly with their children and found her way to a state judging that the Philadelphia Models Guild was giving to choose new fashion models to represent the Guild.

Out of thousands of hopefuls, Lynch was one of the five young women chosen, but there was resistance at first as the Guild did not realize she was a Negro model. Lynch fought hard to keep her spot and eventually went on to enjoy a lucrative fashion career in Philly and New York and was chosen to join the Ebony Fashion Fair Tour in 1965.

Lynch loved the Arts and diligently applied herself to learn photography, acting, filmmaking, ballet and sculpting. She studied for years with Lee Strasberg of the Actors Studio, Herbert Berghof, Bill Hickey, Stella Adler, Shakespeare with Philip Burton, and acting with the great Lloyd Richards of The Negro Ensemble Company. She also trained diligently at F.I.T. in goldsmithing and got into New York University to study filmmaking with George Stoney.  Lynch was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary category for Lost Control, a Film she produced and directed on the problems of drug abuse & addiction. Barbara Kopple won the Oscar for Harlan County USA.

Lynch continued making films and videos and got two masters from The New School in NYC in Media Studies and International Affairs.

Lynch loves writing music and sometimes writes songs with her composer son RB Lynch, who has his music degree from Berklee School of Music in Boston. RB enjoyed Abbey Lincoln recording his songs Love Lament, When Autumn Sings, Christmas Cheer, and How I Hoped For Your Love.

Lynch has been fortunate to do many things she has loved – traveling the world with her children, helping homeless children in several different countries, appearing as Catherine Holly in Tennessee William’s  Suddenly Last Summer in the all-Black production at The New Federal Theatre in NYC in 1970; seeing her books published with success – The Joy Boy’s Daughter and With Glory I So Humbly Stand. She did so love exhibiting her photographic works alongside Gordon Parks & James Van Der Zee at The Equitable Gallery Showing of Black Achievement In The Arts. 

Lynch is working on an update of her autobiography written during this trying pandemic – entitled “Dreams that Don’t Die Softly.”

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