Outdoor Public Art

The Freedom Wall
NE corner of West Ferry and Michigan Streets

See also:  Ferry Street Corridor Project, the 2015 predecessor of The Freedom Wall

On this page, below:

George K. Arthur

Al-Nisa Banks

William Wells Brown

Stokley Carmichael (Kwame Toure)

Shirley Chisholm

Angela Davis

Frederick Douglass

W. E. B. Du Bois

Eva Doyle

Arthur O. Eve

Dr. Monroe Fordham

Bill Gaiter

Alicia Garza

Marcus Garvey


Minnie Gillette

Fannie Lou Hamer

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Malcolm X

Thurgood Marshall

Frank Merriweather

Mama Charlene Caver Miller

Rev. J. Edward Nash, Sr.

Huey Newton

Rosa Parks

King Peterson

Mary B. Talbert

Harriet Tubman

Dr. Lydia Wright



Reprint

The Freedom Wall , 2017

John Baker, Julia Bottoms-Douglas, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed
American, born 1964, 1988, 1983, and 1974

Commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Initiative in partnership with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, 2017

Pub. by the
Albright-Knox Art Gallery



Left to right: Edreys Wajed, Julia Bottoms-Douglas, John Baker, Chuck Tingley

The corner of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street in Buffalo is the northern entrance into the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor: a nexus of the city’s deeply rooted African American history. It marks the intersection of the honorary Richard Allen and Harriet Tubman Ways, and it is home to Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Bethel AME). Organized in 1831, Bethel AME is Buffalo’s oldest black religious institution and served as a critical station on the Underground Railroad.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Initiative, in collaboration with the Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor and neighborhood stakeholders, envisioned this mural as a way to celebrate our nation’s historic and ongoing struggles for political and social equality, including the formative and lasting contributions of local leaders to this cause. With support from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), the large concrete wall surrounding the NFTA’s Cold Spring Bus Maintenance Depot has been transformed into portraits of twenty-eight notable civil rights leaders from America’s past and present.

The list of subjects was generated from multiple public meetings with community members that yielded hundreds of suggestions, featuring a mix of local and national leaders. The success of this mural stems from those candid and inspiring meetings, and the final work is designed to reflect a broad and boundless conversation. A guidance committee composed of local historians, community activists, and artists, including Karima Amin, Max Anderson, Dr. Cynthia Conides, Hiram Cray, Eva Doyle, and Dr. Henry Taylor helped determine a consensus list. In selecting and ordering the final twenty-eight subjects, the group aimed to shape a unique story about civil and human rights work in American history, with an eye toward contextualizing national work and local impact.

Vital contributions from community meetings also helped determine the team of artists that painted these portraits over the summer of 2017: John Baker (born 1964), Julia Bottoms-Douglas (born 1988), Chuck Tingley (born 1983), and Edreys Wajed (born 1974). Each artist is a native of Buffalo, currently lives and works in the region, and holds a degree from SUNY Buffalo State.

No group of twenty-eight individuals could ever possibly encompass the national and local history of civil rights. The fight for social and economic justice in the United States is far from over, and the story and the struggle continue. While celebrating the crucial work that has been done, this project is intended to encourage conversations about the full scope of the long journey toward equality and freedom, the work still yet to do, and the actions all of us can take to bring about a most just and equitable world













West (Michigan Avenue) Elevation



Individual portraits below, from left to right:

Rosa Parks





Stokley Carmichael (Kwame Toure)


Mama Charlene Caver Miller




William Wells Brown



King Peterson




Angela Davis




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South West Elevation



Individual portraits below, from left to right:



Bill Gaiter






Malcolm X







South (East Ferry) Elevation



Individual portraits below, from left to right:
Alicia Garza




George K. Arthur




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





Chuck Tingley

Thurgood Marshall




Fannie Lou Hamer




Arthur O. Eve




Minnie Gillette




Marcus Garvey





John Baker

Harriet Tubman





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Photos and their arrangement 2017 Chuck LaChiusa
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