A mural honoring historically significant black women was unveiled Saturday in Portland.
The 25-by-100 foot mural, painted on the exterior of the Black United Fund building in Northeast Portland, features women such as Angela Davis, Coretta Scott King and Maya Angelou. It was made public at Portland’s Alberta Street Fair.
The wall was painted by artists Jeremy Nichols and Eatcho.
Feminist group Vox Siren and independent group Art Uprising approached the Black United Fund with the idea in December 2014. Though the Black United Fund had turned down mural ideas from other organizations in the past, it agreed to the latest proposal because of its important message for the community.
“It’s not just about beautifying the building, it’s about empowering the community through the images that we see,” said Kimberlee Sheng, executive director, Black United Fund of Oregon.
Alberta Street, like many other neighborhoods in Northeast Portland, used to be a major hub for Portland’s African American community, but has since undergone widespread development and gentrification.
“The mural itself is a wonderful opportunity to spark dialogue about our past but also to think about how we move forward. I’m hoping the mural will become a conversation piece but also a call to action,” Sheng said.
To learn more about the history of race relations in Portland, gentrification, and the civil rights movement, see OPB’s documentary that aired earlier this year.