In 1998, at the height of gang related murders in the city of Boston, Jameel Parker was commissioned to paint a mural by Gang Peace, a not-for-profit, street-based programme seeking to reduce the number of murders in Boston by redirecting youths into education and career-oriented activities. In 1992, around 600 local youths between the ages of 8 and 23 participated in Gang Peace programmes. Parker’s mural, titled All in the Same Gang, was painted in Boston and became a monument to those who had died as a result of gang crime. During its creation, on the corner of the street where the mural was painted – Blue Hill Avenue and Floyd Street – a young boy named Dominic Mount was murdered. Given the immediate community outcry following his death, Parker dedicated the mural to Mount and placed his name alongside heroes of Black history; Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad. By 2016, the portraits of the African American male leaders had faded and the mural had changed to now include four black women, includng abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
Borrowing its name from the 1967 “Wall of Respect” of Chiacgo, muralists Ashanti Johnson, Nathan Hoskins and Verna Parks installed their own public artwork in Atlanta. The abolitionist Frederick Douglass is alongside Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and W.E.B. Du Bois, with the North Star between them. Angela Davis and Muhammad Ali are also present. The mural was destroyed in 2007.
In 1860, Frederick Douglass took to the stage at Boston's African Meeting House to give his speech, “A Plea for Free Speech in Boston.” Muralists Deborah Browder and Heidi Schork transcribed words from the speech onto their mural at Hammond and Tremont Street. “Liberty is meaningless when the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist,” Douglass pronounced in 1860. Three years later, in the same Meeting House on Joy Street, Beacon Hill, African American soldiers, including two of Douglass’ sons, were recruited into the Fifty-fourth Regiment of the Massachusetts Infantry under the leadership of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw.
William Eduardo Scott completed this mural in 1943. The mural depicts a historical meeting during which the abolitionist Frederick Douglass advised President Lincoln to enlist black soldiers into the Union Army during the Civil War. A national competition was held for this mural commission, part of a series installed in the Recorder of the Deeds Building in Washington D.C. Artists were asked to depict episodes from African American history. Out of 300 applicants, seven were selected. Scott was the only African American artist. The subjects of the other panels were Crispus Attucks, Benjamin Banneker, the death of Colonel Shaw at Fort Wagner, slaves building bulwarks from cotton bales at the Battle of New Orleans, Cyrus Tiffany saving Commodore Perry’s life at the Battle of Lake Erie, and Matthew Henson planting the American flag at the North Pole.
In 2014, Rochester's Shawn Dunwoody created a mural on the Interstate 490 bridge over West Main Street. It depicts the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, as well as Susan B. Anthony, Nathaniel Rochester and Austin Steward - all famous Rochester figures
In 1976, Eugene Eda Wade created a mural at Howard University in Washington D.C. The mural depicts the abolitionists Sojourner Truth and Nathaniel Turner attempting to break chains, as well as the abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, and leaders Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. The mural has now been destroyed.
In 1941, the artist Charles White was awarded $2000 from the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship for an ambitious project that included the creation of Contribution of the Negro to Democracy in America. Two years later, he unveiled the mural at the Hampton Institute in Virginia.The central figure has chains around his wrists that also loop around the necks of three other figures. But the shackles on the figure’s wrists are ready to be broken by the abolitionists: Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Turner, Denmark Vesey, Harriet Tubman and Peter Still.
During the Civil Rights Movement, African American activists held rallies and conventions at the Church of the Advocate. But people started to notice the absence of black figures from the church artwork. Father Washington remembered: “there were people who came into the church, and as they looked around they saw nothing and no one, including the figures in the stained glass windows, with whom they could identify. Everything they looked at was white, white, white. ‘How can we look at this white image for our liberation when it is our experience that it is the white man who is our oppressor?’" Upon hearing these questions, Father Washington realised that “we could see the black experience revealed and defined in religious terms, and find parallel situations in what we read in the Old Testament every Sunday.” He commissioned a series of murals for the side of the church, painted by Walter Edmonds and Richard Watson, that show parallels between the experiences endured by Hebrew slaves in Egypt and those suffered by African slaves in America.
Ethiopian artist Mekbib Gebertsadik put the abolitionist Frederick Douglass alongside President Lincoln, the abolitionist John Brown, Malcolm X, President Obama and Michelle Obama. Titling the mural From Menelik I to Obama, Gebertsadik also placeed Douglass on a timeline of diasporic history that starts with Menelik I, the first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia in 950 BC, to President Barack Obama, the first African American president. The mural is a few blocks away from the White House at the Gospel Rescue Ministries homeless shelter, acting as a symbol of hope for those passing through. “Primarily, the clients we serve are African American and [the mural is] an inspiration to our clients of being able to dream” explains Earl Murray, Associate Director for Development and Marketing for Gospel Rescue Ministries.
In 2008, muralist K. Fitch painted a mural of Frederick Douglass in the abolitionist's former home town of Rochester, New York. The mural depicts Douglass in the later years of his life. It had been destoyed by 2014.
In 2010, muralist Michael Kirby created a Maryland mural titled Paradise that depicts scenes of American progress. It includes the abolitionist Frederick Douglass and other historical figures.
In 1959 the Hungarian-American illustrator and muralist Hugo Gellert created the series Seward Park Housing Murals. The four-panel mural series depicts Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Albert Einstein and was commissioned by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The Abraham Lincoln panel has an abolitionist section that features Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and William Lloyd Garrison.The mural was threatened with destruction many times, including in 1996 when the building residents voted to become a private co-op. Individuals on the co-op board then voted to rid the lobby of the murals that they deemed racist, ugly, socialist or 'past their time.' But the building manager, Frank Durant, insisted on their preservation.
G. Byron Peck created this mural in Washington D.C. on the side of a boutique hotel called the Swiss Inn. In 2002, the mural was lost from public view when a luxury apartment complex was built next door, against the mural wall. The image depicts multiple stages of Frederick Douglass’ life against the backdrop of the American flag. In the 1990s, Peck became well-known in Washington D.C. after covering more than 300,000 square feet of the city's walls with his murals. Peck is now the founder, artistic firector and lead artist for all City Arts murals in the D.C. area.
In 1938, Aaron Douglas returned to Fisk University as an assistant professor of Art Education, and it was during his summer there that he, under the aegis of the Treasury Department’s Treasury Relief Arts Projects, created the mural Education of the Colored Man, for the Atlantic City Holmes Village Housing Project in New Jersey. The mural depicts a young Frederick Douglass standing before a small crowd—a civil war solider, a former slave, a sharecropper and a seamstress—who listen to his words. Behind them is a growing metropolis, representing the industrial expansion of the urban north. The art project was funded by the Treasury Relief Arts Project (TRAP) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Titled Our Brothers and Sisters, this mural depicts figures of black history, including the abolitionist Frederick Douglass and also Harold Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington, Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Louis Armstrong.
An unknown artist painted this mural in Harlem, New York City, on the facade of Dining Heritage. It depicts the abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, as well as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Malcolm X. It was destroyed in 2015.
Painted in 2012 by MTC Studio, the mural depicts the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass shaking hands with President Abraham Lincoln. An older version of Douglass is offset to the right side of the mural. The mural site is adjacent to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Anacostia, Washington D.C.
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.