Dozens of artists and community members gathered along Plymouth Avenue in north Minneapolis on Saturday to paint a giant Black Lives Matter mural on the pavement.
The 24-foot-high letters cover a 250-foot stretch of the street. Each of the 16 letters was designed by a different local artist.
Melodee Strong helped organize the endeavor and is among the artists. Ahead of Saturday's mural creation, she said the participation of Black and Latinx artists from the community is empowering.
“In the past, we haven’t really been represented much in public art, in the museums. And it’s about time that we are now getting this platform. And I think this is a wonderful way to allow for Black and brown artists to have the opportunity to do this in this public space," she said.
Strong designed the "S" in the mural.
“My design is going to be called ‘Super Women of Social Justice,’ so I’m hoping to represent some of the key figures in the civil rights and social justice movements, but the women involved,” she said.
Reggie LeFlore designed an "A" in the mural. He chose to draw attention to the killing of James Scurlock, a Black man who was fatally shot by a white bar owner in Omaha, Neb., in May during a fight involving several people. It happened amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The man who fired the fatal shot has not been charged.
"I just wanted to put this on the forefront in some sort of way," LeFlore said. "A lot of these lesser-known murders aren't put on the same platform as (something) that fits the narrative. Right now the narrative is law enforcement and abuse of power — which is, you know, it's incredibly important to talk about. ... But it just seems like certain murder (victims) are less valued than others."
The mural, located between Penn and Newton avenues, was coordinated by the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery.
Strong said having the words on the road — not far from a Minneapolis police precinct — will be a boost to the Black community in the neighborhood.
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.