Buffalo is marking the completion of its latest public art project, a mural depicting 28 civil rights leaders.
The Freedom Wall is located at the entrance to the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor at East Ferry Street. It was painted by four Buffalo artists as part the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Public Art Initiative, which integrates art into public spaces.
The work was painted over the course of the summer by John Baker, Julia Bottoms-Douglas, Chuck Tingley and Edreys Wajed, each a native of Buffalo who lives and works in the region and holds a degree from Buffalo State College. They were chosen to create the mural through input at a number of community meetings.
The list of subjects also came from multiple public meetings that generated nearly 300 suggestions and a guidance committee composed of Karima Amin, Max Anderson, Dr. Cynthia Conides, Hiram Cray, Eva Doyle and Dr. Henry Taylor. The portraits hope to encourage broader dialogues about civil rights, human rights and the struggle for equality.
Among the leaders whose portraits fill the wall are national figures such as Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, as well as prominent Buffalo politicians George K. Arthur and Arthur Eve. Additional figures are Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure), Mama Charlene Caver Miller, William Wells Brown, King Peterson, Angela Davis, Bill Gaiter, Alicia Garza, Al-Nisa Banks, W. E. B. Du Bois, Eva Doyle, Huey P. Newton, Shirley Chisholm, Frank Merriweather, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary B. Talbert, Rev. J. Edward Nash Sr., Dr. Lydia T. Wright, Frederick Douglass, Dr. Monroe Fordham, Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Minnie Gillette, Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman.
A community celebration marking completion of the project was held Sunday.