The next time that you pass the corner East Ferry and Michigan, you will recognize some familiar faces. This corner is also considered the gateway to the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. The mural project that is currently underway features 28 notable civil rights leaders in American history. Of course this public work of art could not have come at a better time, considering the racial turmoil underway in Charlottesville. The Freedom Wall is part of the ongoing Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Initiative. The wall was generously donated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA).
The wall itself adds a beautiful artistic effect to the series of micro murals. The striations that run vertical on the surface create another dimension, almost a 3D quality, to the faces. It’s as if there is added character that could not be captures on a flat surface. It just goes to show that sometimes the texture of a wall can add to a public work of art. And that’s a good thing, because this lifeless corner certainly needed a splash of color and dignity.
The four American artists chosen to paint their works are John Baker (1964), Julia Bottoms-Douglas (1988), Chuck Tingley (1983), and Edreys Wajed (1974).
In order to choose the 28 figures to go on the wall, Karima Amin, Max Anderson, Dr. Cynthia Conides, Hiram Cray, Eva Doyle, and Dr. Henry Taylor took up the challenge to whittle the list down from an original 300 suggestions. Following are the heroic faces that appear on the wall (still underway). These are the faces of local, national and world renowned activists.
Rosa Parks, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure), Mama Charlene Miller Caver, William Wells Brown, King Peterson, Angela Davis, Bill Gaiter, Malcolm X, Alicia Garza, George K. Arthur, Al-Nisa Banks, W. E. B. DuBois, Eva Doyle, Huey P. Newton, Shirley Chisholm, Frank Merriweather, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mary B. Talbert, Reverend J. Edward Nash, Sr., Dr. Lydia T. Wright, Frederick Douglass, Dr. Monroe Fordham, Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Arthur O. Eve, Minnie Gillette, Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman.
On Tuesday, August 15 from 5pm to 7pm, a community event will take place at the Freedom Wall. Come meet the artists, and enjoy a free cookout with Buffalo United Front. Attendees can park at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.
Learn more about the initiative, and the artists, by clicking here.
AK Public Art mural projects are generously underwritten by the New Era Cap Foundation. Additional support for this mural has been provided by Hyatt’s Graphic Supply Company.