Durham Civil Rights History Mural Project
Beginning in 2013, 30 diverse community members, ages 15-65, got together to engage in Durham’s Civil Rights History and gathered what they discovered into a collaborative mural design. In June-July 2014 these same folks, with the help of the greater community, will paint this 2400 square foot mural in downtown Durham, under the direction of muralist Brenda Miller Holmes. Arising from this process is a multimedia, multi platform project directed by documentary filmmaker Rodrigo Dorfman. Please join us and contribute to keep this inspiring history alive and honor the sacrifices of the many Durham citizens who fought for equity and justice.
We Need You To Get Involved!
Our wall grew! Our project was selected by the City of Durham, for its first public art pilot program, and we received a generous grant that covered 80% of the initial cost of the mural. Since then, the size of the wall has grown 300%, our 800 square foot wall is now a 2400 square foot wall! Can you picture that? While we are really excited about the new downtown location and expanded space, we need more of everything. Paint, brushes, scaffolding…you name it. Please click here to make your contribution, no amount is too small…
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“We must remember and continue to tell” Charmaine McKissick-Melton
Why is this project important?
Our hope for the project is to honor the unsung heroes, while taking a longer view. History is often presented in one top-down dimension that honors leaders and ignores the tremendous efforts of everyday people. Our desire is to depict a fuller history, celebrating the hundreds of Durham Citizens whose feet were on the ground working and to commemorate the incredible sacrifices that they made to create change. I also believe that sharing this history is just as important for looking forward as it is for looking back. Understanding the power of each person’s contribution to collective effort has the potential to inspire new movement as we continue to strive for justice.
More about the project
Funded by the City of Durham, through an initiative of the Durham Cultural Advisory Board, under Durham’s Cultural Master Plan, with additional sponsorship by the Hayti Heritage Center, a diverse group of 30 community members, fifteen youth and fifteen adults, have come together to learn about Durham’s profound Civil Rights History. The project began with a series of educational lectures led by Dr. Benjamin Speller as the education team leader. Dr. Speller served as the Dean of the School of Library and Information Sciences at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) from 1983-2004, is a scholar of Durham Civil Rights History and served as the president of Preservation Durham from 2000-2004. He gathered an incredible teaching team, including North Carolina General Assembly Representative, Mickey Michaux, Executive Director of the Pauli Murray Project, Barbara Lau, Coordinator of University Archives/Instructor of Public History, NCCU, Andre Vann, veteran Civil Rights activist Vivian McCoy, North Carolina Senator Floyd B. McKissick and Department Chair, Mass Communications at NCCU Dr. Charmiane McKissick-Melton. Held in February and March of 2013 at the Hayti Heritage Center, this series was free and open to the public. Following these lectures the participants engaged in additional research and collaborated to create a cohesive mural design under the direction of muralist Brenda Miller Holmes. We realize the importance of building on this project and reaching as many people as possible about Durham’s profound Civil Rights History, so we are working on a multimedia project to engage community with the history in multiple ways. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org