Willie Robert Middlebrook, Jr. was an African American photographer, artist and strong advocate for the African-American community in Los Angeles. He received many honors during his lifetime, including two Visual Artist Fellowships in photography from the National Endowment for the Arts, and many commissions for public works including the Los Angeles Metro Expo/Crenshaw Station. His work has been collected by major museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem and LACMA.
In 1960 his family moved to Greater Los Angeles.
With two degrees, an Associate of Arts degree in Art / Photography from Compton Community College and a Certificate in Design from the Communicative Arts Academy, his legacy includes teaching at many institutions from Watts Towers Arts Center to the California State University Los Angeles as well as being on the advisory committee for the Photography Department at his amla mater, Compton Community College.
The social activism and outreach he made to the Greater Los Angeles community was honored many times, including being awarded a City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs in 2009.