It is likely that James Golden Coles (1897-1975) wanted those who saw his portrait that he had fully embraced the sprit of the New Negro era and the Jazz Age. The slang of the day would have described him as "sporty" and his clothes as "spruce." He seems ready for a night out with friends, dancing a two-step to ragtime played on a piano.
Coles was one of at least six children born into Charlottesville to William and Addie Coles, of Charlottesville. After he married Martha Brookins, in 1920, the couple made their home in Gospel Hill. He worked for the University of Virginia most of his adult life, beginning as a janitor and later becoming a laboratory technician at University Hospital. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.