Throughout Chattanooga, heartbeats of history ring along Martin Luther King Boulevard, and now a mural project is going to put a new spotlight on the former 9th Street’s legacy.
Who: EPB, partner orgs + nine local artists
What: “The Soul of MLK – How artists visualize the heart and soul of MLK in arts, music and culture”
When: Work begins in the spring
Where: EPB substation fence at 10th and Foster streets (which is just off MLK Boulevard)
Why: To highlight the history, heritage and significance of downtown’s Martin Luther King Boulevard area
The artists + project names
Jaclyn Anderson – Barbershop Vignette
Rondell Crier – Good Fish
Josiah Golson – Head in the Clouds of History
Keelah Jackson-Harris – Dr. King’s 9th Street Reverie
Julius Hubbard – Dare to Dream
Harlan Lovestone – A Dream Rises
Madison Myers – Interracial Couple Dancing
Lauren O’Neill – The Quilt
Rachel Veal – Street Music
- 100% of the selected submissions were from minority or women artists.
- For some artists, this will be their first mural work.
“In alignment with the historical significance of the MLK district, we were honored to be part of a process that blindly selected such diverse artists. The result is a body of work that lifts local voices and creates a tapestry reflecting the culture, traditions, and social justice heritage of the area.” – Vickye Bone, Vice President of Programs with the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, which is a partner on this project
- MLK Boulevard used to be called 9th Street.
- During the segregation era, the area was home to many Black-owned shops, offices, and entertainment venues.
- But the end of segregation and changing traffic patterns, among other factors, eventually altered the once bustling boulevard and it fell largely into disrepair for years.
- It wasn’t until a couple of years after The Great Recession, and after the rebirth of areas such as Chattanooga’s Southside, that developers and business owners started to come to MLK.
- Since about 2012, the area has seen new investment.
- The new murals will join a handful of other unique creations that already beautify buildings on MLK.