In 1970, John Pitman Weber of the Chicago Public Art Group created a mural on the wall of the Christopher Settlement House on the north side of Chicago. The mural faces a children’s playground in a predominantly white working-class area of the city and according to Weber, the neighbourhood’s anxiety regarding racial tensions in the community only emerged during the creation of the mural and related discussions with local residents. Working together, Weber and the local residents agreed that the racial concerns needed to be surfaced, and the mural would serve this purpose. It depicts narrative scenes across the wall, including daggers and guns held by both black and white individuals, black hands in handcuffs under the phrase “free all political prisoners,” (something that the Black Panther Party was pushing for in the 1960s and 1970s), and a black hand shaking a white hand under the faces of Frederick Douglass and the radical white abolitionist John Brown, who are both identified on the mural as Freedom Fighters. The mural had been destroyed by the late 20th century.
In 2015, muralists David Fichter, Yetti Frenkel and Joshua Winer created a 17-foot, 3 storey mural titled Central Square Mural in the city of Lynn, Massachusetts. With input from local residents and schoolchildren, the muralists created a historic panoramic at 25 Exchange Street. Assembled in two phases, the first phase entailed artists working with students from Lynn Middle and High schools to create a mosaic arch about contemporary life in Lynn. The second phase focused on the history of the city. This section depicts the shoe industries of the 19th century, labor unrest, burning factories, Hiram Marble digging for buried treasure in Lynn Woods’ Dungeon Rock, astronomer Maria Mitchell, poet Vincent Ferrini, and, assuming a central position in the mural, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass.The mural was funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
In 2006, muralist Joseph Tiberino, along with his sons Gabe and Raphael, painted Wall of Black Heroes for the African American Museum of Philadelphia. When creating the mural, the idea was to provide a portable piece of work that would later be housed in the streets. Measuring 4ft by 12ft, the mural was created on such a scale so as to provide the audience with the sense that the figures of history were life-size. The mural takes the audience on a historical journey, starting with a self-emancipating shackled slave, then moving to the abolitionists Frederick Douglass andHarriet Tubman, then Angela Davis and Malcolm X, Spike Lee, Paul Robeson, Louis Armstrong and Martin Luther King Jr. The mural is now on the side of the Municipal Services Building next to City Hall.
This mural was painted in the Bronx, New York City by an unnamed artist and depicts Frederick Douglass in the later years of his life, and the phrase "Education is the pathway to freedom." it had been destroyed by 2016.
This mural was created by Harper Leich in Asheville, North Carolina in 2012 but had been destroyed by 2016. It includes the faces of Frederick Douglass, Maya Angelou, and George Washington Carver.
In 2009, Wardell McClain created a mural on South Champlain Avenue in Chicago, Illinois titled Sim's Corner Wall of Respect, that took its inspiration from the 1967 mural, Wall of Respect. It includes the faces of the abolitonists Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth as well as Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X, Harold Washington, Elijah Muhammad, Nelson Mandela, Michael Jordan, Coretta Scott King, Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington.
Picturing Our Dreams is by incarcerated youth at the Monroe Correctional Facility in Rochester, New York. The mural was created in collaboration with a New York State Library Centre writer, visual artist and Rochester School District teachers. The ideology behind the mural was that inmates could communicate the idea that there is freedom and knowledge inside the jail system. In the centre of the mural, a heart with many key-holes floats around the corresponding keys, and above are the faces of the abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, as well as Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 2000, muralist Gary Mullen created a mural that depicts how abolitionist Fredrick Douglass learned to read. It is located in the city of Baltimore, where the abolitionist spent the formative years of his life as a slave, and where he taught himself to read. Titled Young Frederick Douglass’ Quest to Read, the mural was created bring pride to the residents of the Latrobe Homes area of north Baltimore. After reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the story stayed with Mullen, and when asked by the Brentwood Village Initiative to propose a mural design, the story of Douglass’ life in Baltimore was the perfect subject. The panel scenes depict Douglass’ master, Hugh Auld, scolding his wife, Sophia, for assisting Douglass to read—an illegal act at the time; Douglass trading Sophia Auld’s bread to hungry white children in exchange for reading lessons; Douglass challenging children to write as well as he does; and 12 year-old Douglass discovering the meaning of abolition. Mullen created the mural to emphasise the importance of education to the African American community in Baltimore, and local residents have received it enthusiastically, “It’s not everyday you get a mural like this in your community,” committee organiser, Patrick Lee said.
As part of a Rochester WALL\THERAPY mural project in 2013, muralist Lunar New Year used Trayvon Martin, a young Frederick Douglass, and a local resident called Christopher to depict three possible paths of African American manhood in his mural I Am/Yo Soy. The young boy on the edge of the mural pleads to the North Star in the sky in a position that echoes Josiah Wedgwood’s famous 18th-century "Am I Not a Man and a Brother" medallion. An older version of Douglass then sits on the right side on the mural, as the only figure beyond the real and painted chain link fences.Lunar New Year, who is an Ecuadorian American Newark-based artist, explained that the mural is about “the history of institutionalized injustice in the USA… Injustice forged Frederick Douglass’s character, robbed Trayvon Martin of his life and [it] is up to us, to dictate what future awaits for young 7 year old Christopher from Rochester.”
A teacher at North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School, Katie Bordner, created this mural with her students in 2012. It depicts the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a mother and child and an African backdrop.
In 1988, Mike Alewitz designed and began to direct the creation of Pathfinder Mural in New York City’s West Village. The mural, measuring 79 x 85 feet, was an international collaboration of 80 artists from 20 different countries including Argentina, Canada, Iran, New Zealand, Nicaragua and South Africa. At its dedication, it was hailed as one of the largest political murals in the world. In 1987, Alewitz had approached the leaders of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), of which he was a member, and proposed that Pathfinder Press sponsored a mural for its Charles Street building. The party approved both the project and his concept of the mural: a celebration of the revolutionary struggles in Cuba, Grenada, Nicaragua and South Africa, as well as in America. The central image of the mural is a large red printing press. The faces of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Malcolm X, Karl Marx, and Nelson Mandela loop around it. The abolitionists Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth also feature. During the creation of Pathfinder Mural, the National Endowment for the Arts withdrew funding from several controversial projects, prompting a debate on free speech and censorship. For the first few months of this mural's creation, work continued without incident. But in 1989, Patrick Buchanan, a conservative commentator, vilified the mural in the Washington Times, calling it a “six-story shrine to communism, a Marxist Mount Rushmore in Greenwich Village." As the mural neared completion, the dialogue between Alewitz and the SWP started to break down. Alewitz was blocked from attending the mural dedication ceremony on November 19, 1989. During December, vandals threw glass bottles filled with white paint at the mural. In 1996, the mural was removed in order to repair cracks in exterior wall of the Pathfinder building, and by 2003, the building on which Pathfinder Mural was housed was sold for around $20 million.
This mural, part of a wider series called La Lucha Continua/The Struggle Continues, is split into two halves. The bottom half shows anonymous arms merchants in suits, and the top portrait shows portraits of local residents alongside the leaders Nelson Mandela, Daniel Ortega, Robert F. Williams and the abolitionist Harriet Tubman, among others.
In 1990, an unnamed artist completed a mural inside Douglass High School in Baltimore. The mural was in a corridor and depicted black and white scenes of slavery in the background, and a colour version of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass in the foreground.
In 1970, a mural titled Racism appeared in the Cabrini-Green Housing Projects in Chicago’s southside. It celebrated black women who had been key participants in the struggle for black liberation. The mural depicted the faces of Nina Simone, Angela Davis and Kathleen Cleaver, along with the names of Aunt Jemima, Betty Shabazz, Cleopatra, Mary McLeod Bethune, Coretta Scott King and the abolitionist Sojourner Truth. The mural was defaced with white paint shortly after its completion.
In 2008, Baltimore Green Construction and Rebuilding Together Baltimore contacted Dr. Bob Hieronimus. They asked him to participate in a renovation project throughout the city, including a complete recreation of the 1996 mural A Little Help from Our Friends. The mural is located at Johns Hopkins University’s Office of Volunteer Services and features the faces of Gandhi, Jackie Robinson, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the abolitionist Harriet Tubman, among others. In 1996, the mural won the best mural award from WMAR-TV and was visited by Bob Marley’s sons, Ziggy and Stephen.
In 2012, Mexican muralist Luis Zarate created the mural Underground Railroad on Bay Street in Sodus Point, Wayne County in upstate New York. Sponsored by the Neighborhood Association of Sodus Point, the mural depicts the involvement of Sodus Point in the Underground Railroad of the 1850s. Captain George Garlock, who captained the ship Free Trader out of Sodus Point and picked up runaway slaves on his way to Canada, is depicted in the centre of the mural on the boat between the black antislavery leaders Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. On July 14, 2012, a dedication ceremony revealed a plaque was mounted below the mural that reads: “This mural depicts a scene of the Underground Railroad. From stories passed down there were several safe houses in this area that were used to harbor 'Freedom Seekers.' These included the old Cohn Farm and the old Sodus Fruit Farm and what is now Maxwell Creek B & B and Silver Waters B & B. Sometimes a schooner, out of the old Sodus Point ore dock, would pick up slaves on its way to Canada."
In 2005, Artmakers Inc. created a large-scale political mural titled When Women Pursue Justice. During the genesis of the mural, it seemed like an overly ambitious project with little funding, and a heavy reliance on the generosity of its collaborators. Located in Brooklyn, at the busy intersection between Nostrand and Greene Avenue, the mural is populated with women who worked towards justice and social change over the last 150 years. The most visually noticeable figure on the mural is the thirty-five-foot image of Shirley Chisholm astride a golden horse and dressed in armour of African mud and kente cloth. Surrounding Chisholm are 90 women who risked their lives and liberty to achieve voting rights, civil rights, racial justice, health and reproductive rights, and environmental justice and protection – including the abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, as well as Angela Davis, Wilma Mankiller, Margaret Sanger, and Dorothy Day.
In 1999, artist Christopher Wynter created a mosaic installation at the Cathedral Parkway subway station in Harlem. He explained that the 3-part mosaic series titled Migrations “present the ideas of uprooting, migration, and progress in symbolic form." The installation features Frederick Douglass and was placed in the subway station that runs underneath Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
In 1986, muralist David Fichter created a mural on the side of the Paul Robeson Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The mural was sponsored by the city of Atlanta, and depicts Harriet Tubman leading slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad, against a quilted backdrop..
In 1968, after the success of Chicago’s Wall of Respect in 1967, muralist Leroy White painted Wall of Respect/Up You Mighty Race in St. Louis, Missouri. The mural was self-sponsored. After seeing Chicago’s Wall of Respect in Ebony, muralists in St. Louis were inspired to create public art in the Carr Square area of the city. The mural was completed by a coalition of individuals from civil rights groups, including CORE, ACTION, and the Zulu 1200s. It displayed a pantheon of black heroes, including the antislavery leaders Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Marcus Garvey. The mural quickly became a hub of black activism—bringing together artists, performers and political figures in a series of concerts and rallies at the site. But it was vandalised during the 1970s, and its building was razed in the 1980s.