As practicing Christians, we firmly believe that we must do all we can to form a society that is based on justice, equality, and compassion for all members of the human race. This is what Martin Luther King, Jr., called the “Beloved Community.” We can only hope to reach this goal if we are able to tell the truth about our communities and ourselves, and if we dismantle racism and homophobia that continue to haunt our society. With our mural, we hope to provide opportunities to reflect on our successes and failures as a society, to acknowledge the work that still lies ahead, and to heal our world one relationship, one neighborhood, and one community at a time.
The mural, which is adjacent to Mack’s Park on McKey Street in Valdosta, Georgia, displays portraits of Saint Anna Alexander (a Saint of the Diocese of Georgia since 1998), Martin Luther King, Jr., (an internationally known civil rights leader and Georgia native), Howard Thurman (an author, theologian, and civil rights leader), Marsha P. Johnson (a nationally known LGBTQ rights activist), and John Lewis (a well-known civil rights leader from Georgia).
Also depicted on the mural are Mary Turner (a victim of the 1918 Georgia lynching rampage) in the form of a tree of life and Ahmaud Arbery (who was a victim of racial violence in February 2020). Other portraits show Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, and Maya Angelou.
Weaving across the mural is a rainbow-colored ribbon which in one area displays notes and lyrics from the Billy Holiday song “Strange Fruit”.
Note: Our amazing mural artists are Taylor Shaw (former VSU professor) and A’Shadrian “Shay” Clayton (VSU student).
As John Lewis put it:
“What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it’s grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.”
Help us make the impossible possible by contributing to our fundraiser. - Thanks!
For a full description of our mural project, including the final mural design, please go to the following link: http://christthekingvaldosta.org/index.php/civil-rights-mural-2/