Born in Mississippi, Black ran away from home to his grandmother’s house in Fort Pierce, Florida, in 1960 when he was thirteen years old. He sold typewriters at Fort Pierce Typewriter, working his way up from deliveryman to salesman. He eventually came across some of Alfred Hair’s salesmen, coached them, and finally ended up as Hair’s (and the other Highwaymen’s) top seller. He received the nickname “Blood,” shortened from “Young Blood,” as a young boy. Black took up painting in the 1970s after Alfred Hair died.
Once called “one hundred percent artist,” Black spent time in prison for embezzlement and was addicted to crack cocaine. While in prison, he began painting murals—on walls, garbage cans, wherever he was allowed. He was released in December 2006. He now said he has found the Lord, and his paintings reflect that—he includes three birds representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in all of them.