By her death in 2007, Whittaker had founded two schools, produced impressive artworks across a multitude of mediums, and touched, even saved, the lives of countless disadvantaged children.

As Don Jackson, the president of Peoria’s NAACP chapter, remarked, “Juliette’s purpose has ended, but her purpose in life was to save the lives of those who grew up beneath the umbrella of the Carver Community Center.”

Whittaker had an eye for the offbeat talent, for children whom other adults didn’t believe in. Jackson remembered that “With Richard Pryor there were a lot of us who wanted to slap him away, like an annoying mosquito. She saw a lot of talent. She was right. We were wrong.”