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.
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 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.
Pontella Mason is one of Baltimore’s unsung visual artists. He has created murals for the Anacostia Community Museum, former President Jimmy Carter, and several other public organisations. His murals depict African American life and the diaspora. In 1999, he created the extensive mural Ancestral Roots, which depicts the antislavery heroes Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass, as well as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Shirley Chisholm, and Marcus Garvey.
The Baltimore Wall of Pride stands in the playground at Carey and Cumberland streets in the area of Sandtown-Winchester, Baltimore, Maryland. Painted in 1992 soon after the Rodney King riots of LA, the mural became a site for protest meetings after Freddie Gray was killed in 2015, just blocks away from the mural.Painted by Pontella and Deborah Mason, the mural celebrates the heroes of black history, including Fannie Lou Hamer, James Baldwin, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Kwame Nkrumah, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Langston Hughes, and the antislavery figures Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman.