Feb 22

Nine Murals Remembering African American Heroes

by: Laura Kochman

On Octavius Catto’s 179th birthday, we’re over at Universal Institute Charter School celebrating with the unveiling of a new mural design. Our strength is public art, not birthday cakes, so we asked artists Willis Humphrey and Keir Johnston to design a mural that would honor this important early civil rights activist, who has long gone unsung in the public eye.

Since his assassination, Catto has been remembered and celebrated within Philadelphia’s African American communities, and we wanted to bring his memory to a wide audience—making sure that our city’s youth learn about the man who helped desegregate streetcars and fought for voting rights. Catto is one among many figures of Black history that we’ve depicted over the years—local and national, long-gone, recently passed, or still with us today—so we thought we’d invite a few more people to this birthday celebration.

Jackie Robinson, Baseball Player 

Miss Jones, West Philadelphia Community Pillar 

Tuskegee Airmen and Female Parachute Riggers, WWII Fighter Pilots and Mechanics 

The Roots, Homegrown Music Heroes 

Herman Wrice, Community Organizer 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Other Civil Rights Leaders 

Shawn L. “Air Smooth” White, PhD, Community Leader and AIDS Activist 

Bishop Richard Allen, African Methodist Episcopal Church Founder and Civil Rights Activist 

John Coltrane, Legendary Jazz Musician 

Last updated: Feb 23, 2018

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