Ben Blount says he deliberately chose verbs, action words, for his mural about race and Evanston.
That mural, on a wall on Washington Street near Chicago Avenue, commemorates an Evanston City Council 2019 resolution, affirming the city’s dedication to ending structural racism and achieving racial equity.
Words from the resolution are painted in large white letters on a black background, stating “Whereas, City of Evanston embraces, believes, recognizes, acknowledges, declares and affirms.”
The mural has been in place in the Main Dempster Mile district since November, but was officially dedicated on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Larry Murphy, owner of a nearby business, said dedicating the art on MLK Day was a “substantive tribute” to the slain civil rights leader.
Murphy said the mural and its associated resolution “forthrightly acknowledged the shame of the city’s racial past,” while setting goals for the future.
Mayor Daniel Biss called the mural a “beautiful representation of the impact of ideas,” and stated that the dedication was “held on the right day.”
9th Ward alderman Cecily Fleming, author of the 2019 resolution, said while there has been progress in meeting the goals of that statement, “there has not been enough.”
“But at least,” she added, “there’s hope.”
The mural was made possible through the efforts of the Main Dempster Mile business group and the city’s Mural Arts Program.
Artist Blount noted that his mother attended the racially segregated Foster School.
Blount said he hopes the mural serves as a “beacon,” and as “a reminder in some small way that we can work together.”