Outdoor Public Art

John Baker   ...   Julia Bottoms-Douglas   ...   Chuck Tingley   ...   Edreys Wajed

The Freedom Wall
NE corner of East Ferry and Michigan Streets

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

On this page, below:

George K. Arthur  Chuck Tingley

Al-Nisa Banks  John Baker

William Wells Brown  Edreys Wajed

Stokley Carmichael (Kwame Toure)  Chuck Tingley

Shirley Chisholm  John Baker

Angela Davis  Chuck Tingley

Frederick Douglass  Julia Bottoms-Douglas

W. E. B. Du Bois  Edreys Wajed

Eva Doyle  Julia Bottoms-Douglas

Arthur O. Eve  Julia Bottoms-Douglas

Dr. Monroe Fordham  Chuck Tingley

Bill Gaiter  John Baker

Alicia Garza  Julia Bottoms-Douglas

Marcus Garvey  John Baker

Minnie Gillette  Chuck Tingley

Fannie Lou Hamer  Edreys Wajed

Martin Luther King, Jr.  Julia Bottoms-Douglas

Malcolm X  Edreys Wajed

Thurgood Marshall  John Baker

Frank Merriweather  Edreys Wajed

Mama Charlene Caver Miller  John Baker

Rev. J. Edward Nash, Sr.  John Baker

Huey Newton  Chuck Tingley

Rosa Parks  Julia Bottoms-Douglas

King Peterson  Julia Bottoms-Douglas

Mary B. Talbert  Chuck Tingley

Harriet Tubman  Edreys Wajed

Dr. Lydia Wright  Edreys Wajed


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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