Art Republic "officially" unveiled the "Lift Every Voice" murals last night on the Forsyth Street side of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund Center (formerly the Haydon Burns library). It is an honor to have my image in one of the murals, and it was an honor to speak last night.
Although I am appreciative and humble that my image is there, my image is symbolic and representative of those young Black people in Jacksonville who disregarded physical peril by participating in the 1960 lunch counter sit-ins demonstrations to fight Racism, and to "sit" for their Black Human Dignity and Respect. And though attacked downtown on that August 27, 1960 by 200 White Racist thugs, to a person, WE would all do it again.
It is a priceless personal honor to share a public mural with Mr. Rutledge Henry Pearson-my Junior High school (Isaiah Blocker Junior High) American History teacher, my Junior High school Civics teacher...the adviser to the1959-1961 Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP when I was President and was one of the leaders of the 1960 lunch counter sit-ins...and my Mentor.
There are 3 murals-one mural is Zora Neale Hurston and Ebony Payne-English...one mural is Eartha M. M. White and Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole...and the third is me and Mr. Pearson. It was also priceless for my son, Rodney Hurst II, to introduce me last night as one of the speakers for the unveiling. I, in turn, officially introduced my great-granddaughter, Miss Everly Ann Dorrell, to Jacksonville last night. It was her debut. All in all, it was a grand evening.
Thank you Jessica Santiago and Art Republic...thank you Mari Kuraishi and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund...thank you Muralist Artist Celso...thank you Photographer Artist, Videographer, and Video Director Christopher Parsons ...thank you to all of the artists, involved with this awesome project...and thank you to my family and friends, who were there last night to share with me.
And although Ann was not there, she was looking down and smiling.
(Original photo for my mural by Ingrid Damiani).
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.