‘Black Lives Matter’ mural to be painted near Birmingham’s Railroad Park

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Between Wednesday and Friday, First Avenue South between 16th and 17th streets South near Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham will be blocked off as “Black Lives Matter’’ is painted on the block.

The project developed after two people, who did not know each other, contacted Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office with the same idea. Cara McClure of Black Lives Matter Birmingham contacted Mayor Woodfin with an interest to celebrate Juneteenth and honor activists and foot soldiers by painting “Black Lives Matter’’ on a Birmingham street. McClure told the mayor that such an image was done in Washington, D.C. on June 5.

However, McClure was unaware that Birmingham mural artist Shawn Fitzpatrick had contacted Woodfin’s Office of Public Information (OPI) earlier this month with an idea to duplicate the D.C. message. Fitzpatrick suggested that local mural artists paint the message.

When the OPI and Woodfin discovered that both McClure and Fitzpatrick had similar ideas for unity and support, discussions were held to see what could be done to make both proposals a reality. In the end, the two concepts were merged and a block near Railroad Park was selected as the space to display the intended message from both groups.

McClure and Fitzpatrick will work with the city’s transportation department on the project. Also participating in this effort is Joseph Casper Baker III of the “I Believe in Birmingham” group.    

Work is slated to begin Wednesday. At this time, it’s hard to say the time the actual painting will start on Wednesday, as crews will first assess the area layout and consult with the participants in the morning.

The goal is to have the project finished before Friday, which marks Juneteenth. This holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people were free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation happened two years prior to Granger’s arrival in Texas, there were still those who did not know they were free until the Union forces were strong enough to overcome the Confederate resistance.


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