Birmingham’s Black Lives Matter mural is featured in a New York Times roundup of murals from across the country. The photo they chose? One that Bham Now producer Nathan Watson took as the project neared completion in 2020. Read on to find out about the message behind the photo.
The Story Behind Birmingham’s Black Lives Matter Mural
The New York Times has published a gallery of Black Lives Matter murals from select cities across the U.S. The New York Times created this gallery in remembrance of the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Bham Now Content Producer Nathan Watson’s photo was chosen to represent Birmingham in this digital guide.
The mural is located on 1st Avenue South between 16th and 17th Streets, in front of Railroad Park. It has been a part of the Birmingham community since June 2020. Bham Now interviewed Cara McClure, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Birmingham about the impact the mural has had on The Magic City.
“We put the mural there as a cry, to say Black lives matter. We wanted the statement to be there, even when we couldn’t be there—we wanted people to pay attention. Unfortunately, Black lives are still languishing in jails only because they can’t afford to pay; Black lives are still homeless in our city, and we haven’t done anything about it.
Although I am very proud of some of the programs that the City of Birmingham has implemented lately, like the Mayor providing a guaranteed income for single mothers, and a grant to help the young people in housing communities find jobs. There is some movement to better Black lives, but we still have a lot of work to do in our city.”Cara McClure, co-founder, Black Lives Matter Birmingham
The making of Birmingham’s Black Lives Matter mural
As described by Bham Now at the time, the mural was inspired by the work of artists in Washington, D.C. McClure and Joseph Baker from I Believe in Birmingham reached out to Mayor Woodfin with the idea of painting a massive “Black Lives Matter” street mural somewhere in Birmingham. Separately, local artist Shawn Fitzwater reached out to the City with a similar idea.
“We need this mural to do the work of encouraging people to have the hard conversations—this is why we wanted it in front of Railroad Park. That way, we can have a future that’s better for everybody,” McClure said at the time.
Cindy Martin, CEO of Bham Now added:
“We are honored to have our photo by Nathan Watson, Bham Now Senior Content Producer, represent Birmingham, Alabama in this important gallery for The New York Times. Our mission is to shine a light on the uplifting, positive momentum of the greater Birmingham area. The Black Lives Matter mural is one of those icons that represents the forward movement of our great city.”Cindy Martin, CEO, Bham Now