WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – In another sign of recognition that black history is every day, a group of artists is close to completing their Civil Rights Movement icons mural in downtown West Palm Beach. It appears on the 100 x 18-foot Respectable Street Wall, known for the Respectable Street Café, at 518 Clematis Street in West Palm Beach.
The mural, a collaboration between Street Art Revolution artists Dahlia Perryman, Eduardo Mendieta, Tracy Guiteau and Nate Dee, shows the history, positivity and hope of the Civil Rights Movement utilizing portraits and quotes. The artists are combining styles and practices using both spray paint and hand brushwork.
“The mural format allows history to be told in new ways and reaches audiences on many levels, visually with words and imagery,” said Caron Bowman, founder of Street Art Revolution. “The mural includes Augusta Savage, an artist who is from West Palm Beach and was the mother of the Harlem Renaissance and fought for equality in public art.”
Street Art Revolution is a Black-owned artist-led public art collective and ﬁrm, one of the few of its kind in the United States that specializes in providing highly curated and culturally sensitive public art, civic design and sculptures. The mural was curated by Bowman, who said she wanted to honor both well-known and lesser-known impactful leaders of the Civil Rights Movement as part of the cultural framework for the project. The mural also was inspired by the photographic exhibition “The Summer of ’68” at the Norton Museum of Art.
The mural visually teaches history and true equity takes many voices and many opinions,” said Bowman, who described the Movement icons in the artwork as: Augusta Savage, an American sculptor and resident of West Palm Beach’s Historic Northwest community, before moving to New York and becoming associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She also was a teacher whose studio was important to the careers of a generation of artists who would become nationally known. She worked for equal rights for African Americans in the arts.
Fannie Lou Hamer, a community activist for civil rights in Mississippi, who organized Mississippi Freedom Summer to register African Americans to vote.
Martin Luther King Jr., an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
Malcolm X, a human rights activist who advocated for equality for black people. Malcolm’s teachings, garnered from his teacher, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, founder of the original Nation of Islam, helped lay the groundwork for the African American history movement, the Black is beautiful movement and, the Black economic empowerment movement. Malcolm X’s teachings about Black pride were highly influential in the hip hop movement.
Harriet Tubman, an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 19 missions to rescue approximately 300 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
John Lewis, a civil rights activist and politician, who helped organize the March on Washington. In 1965 Lewis helped lead the ﬁrst March from Selma to Montgomery across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which was brutally suppressed. The march held for voting rights and helped gain support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1964.
Kathleen Cleaver, a human rights activist who advocates for racial equality. She became the communication secretary for the Black Panther Party.
Ella Baker, one of the great architects of the Civil Rights Movement, was chiefly responsible for expanding the NAACP throughout the South. She believed in radical democracy that the common person in the street could make powerful change, and was a chief architect of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Organizers say Street Art Revolution: Downtown West Palm Beach Mural Art Program is shining a spotlight on local artists while providing the community with an authentic slice of West Palm Beach culture.
“The creation of Street Art Revolution: Downtown Mural Art Program shows the deep talent of visual artists in the local area and I am honored to be part of their efforts,” said Bowman. “Public art projects like this shows the deep commitment to equity from our sponsors and community partners.”
Sponsors include the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority, West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District, and Subculture Group. Visit streetartrevolution.webs.com.