Mu­ral to be ded­i­cated July 21

Event is part of ‘Re­flec­tions on Pine’

Dorchester Star - - Front Page -

— Dorch­ester County’s new­est pub­lic mu­ral will be ded­i­cated at 4 p.m. Fri­day, July 21, near the cor­ner of Mary­land Ave. and U.S. Route 50 in Cam­bridge. All are in­vited to at­tend the ded­i­ca­tion.

The mu­ral high­lights Cam­bridge’s rich African-Amer­i­can his­tory, cul­ture and her­itage, par­tic­u­larly in the com­mu­nity around Pine Street, which is one of the old­est AfricanAmer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try that dates back to the mid-1800s.

The 11-foot-by-48-foot mu­ral was cre­ated by artist Michael Rosato, whose stu­dio is in down­town Cam­bridge. Rosato’s work is fea­tured in mu­se­ums, pub­lic spa­ces and pri­vate res­i­dences across the coun­try, in­clud­ing the Smith­so­nian Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory in Washington, D.C., and the Ok­la­homa City Na­tional Memo­rial & Mu­seum in Ok­la­homa City, Okla.

Rosato met with com­mu­nity mem­bers to dis­cuss the mu­ral’s de­sign and to get ideas about the people and places they thought should be in­cluded. The fi­nal prod­uct is a

mix of some of Dorch­ester’s most well-known cit­i­zens, as well as “or­di­nary” people. Rosato said that the de­sign of the mu­ral is very de­lib­er­ate.

“At the cen­ter of the mu­ral is Har­riet Tub­man, who is a sym­bol of courage, hard work, per­se­ver­ance, and loy­alty to her fam­ily and com­mu­nity,” Rosato said. “Everything ra­di­ates out from her, from her heart and cen­ter.” Tub­man was born into slav­ery in Dorch­ester County, just a few miles away from the mu­ral.

To Tub­man’s left and right are lead­ers, in­clud­ing Glo­ria Richard­son Dan­dridge, a key fig­ure in the civil rights move­ment in Cam­bridge in the 1960s, and small busi­ness own­ers and ev­ery­day people whose con­tri­bu­tions may not be as well known but res­onate to this day—a brick­layer, a bar­ber, a baker, a farmer, a high school ath­lete, and more. Other fig­ures in the mu­ral rep­re­sent a Tuskegee air­man; Dr. J. Ed­win Fas­sett; Nurse Max­ine Magee, one of the first African-Amer­i­can pub­lic health nurses in the coun­try; and Ella Fitzger­ald, one of many pop­u­lar African-Amer­i­can mu­si­cians who per­formed on Pine Street.

“Sev­eral of the people in mu­ral are look­ing out, en­gag­ing you, invit­ing you to learn more about them,” Rosato said. “To me, it’s a very up­beat, pos­i­tive look at this vi­brant com­mu­nity and its ac­com­plish­ments over the decades.”

Rosato, who has lived in Dorch­ester County since 2002, said that liv­ing here and be­ing able to create this mu­ral added ex­tra mean­ing for him.

“Liv­ing here makes a dif­fer­ence,” he said. “You know there have been ten­sions and strug­gles, and di­a­logue is go­ing on and it’s get­ting stronger. In a sense, I’m paint­ing a part of that di­a­logue. It’s a di­a­logue with a very pos­i­tive vibe to it.”

“The City of Cam­bridge is ex­cited to have this mu­ral,” said City Plan­ner Pat Escher. “It’s an in­terim dis­play rep­re­sent­ing Cam­bridge’s rich African Amer­i­can her­itage. We an­tic­i­pate a full com­mu­nity out­reach process for the fi­nal de­sign of the gate­way project once more funds are avail­able.”

Greg Meekins, a Cam­bridge na­tive, 50-year grad­u­ate of Mace’s Lane High School, and long-time mem­ber of the Elks Lodge #223 on Pine Street, said that 2017 was the per­fect time to create the mu­ral.

“This mu­ral and its cel­e­bra­tion of lo­cal African-Amer­i­can her­itage ties in per­fectly with other big events this year, par­tic­u­larly the open­ing of the Har­riet Tub­man Un­der­ground Rail­road Vis­i­tor Cen­ter and the 50-year com­mem­o­ra­tion of the civil rights un­rest in Cam­bridge,” he said. “We see the mu­ral as a pow­er­ful way to share our his­tory with ev­ery­one pass­ing by on Route 50.”

The mu­ral ded­i­ca­tion is part of the “Re­flec­tions on Pine” se­ries of events sched­uled for July 20-23, which will com­mem­o­rate 50 years of “civil rights, change, and com­mu­nity” in Cam­bridge. The events in­clude a com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion, church ser­vice, din­ner, and more — all de­signed to en­cour­age di­a­logue and heal­ing in the com­mu­nity.

“The mu­ral is an op­por­tu­nity for us to share yet an­other chap­ter in the unique evo­lu­tion of Cam­bridge that makes our city his­tor­i­cally rich,” said Dion Banks, co­founder of Eastern Shore Net­work for Change, the or­ga­ni­za­tion plan­ning the Re­flec­tions on Pine events. “It makes us proud to live here. Our vis­i­tors can con­tinue their ex­pe­ri­ence of learn­ing by pick­ing up our Pine Street Walk­ing Tour Guide, sched­ule to be un­veiled on July 20.”

The four-day se­ries of events en­ti­tled “Re­flec­tions on Pine: Cam­bridge com­mem­o­rates civil rights, com­mu­nity & change” will run from Thurs­day, July 20 through Sun­day, July 23.

At 7 p.m. on Fri­day, July 21, there will be a gala din­ner hon­or­ing Har­riet Tub­man, Glo­ria Richard­son Dan­dridge, Fred Jack­son and Vic­to­ria Jack­son-Stanley; four people from Dorch­ester County who re­fused to ac­cept the sta­tus quo and worked to move our com­mu­nity for­ward.

A com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion on race will be held at 12 p.m. on Satur­day af­ter­noon. This will be a pro­fes­sion­ally fa­cil­i­tated con­ver­sa­tion about race and our com­mu­nity. A boxed lunch will be pro­vided.

A 5k race en­ti­tled “Race Against Racism” will be­gin at 7 a.m. on Sun­day morn­ing.

Sun­day morn­ing com­mu­nity church ser­vice, a part­ner­ship with the Min­is­te­rial Al­liance in an ef­fort to de­seg­re­gate the most seg­re­gated hour in Amer­ica, will be held at 11 a.m. at Bethel AME Church.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Re­flec­tions on Pine events, visit Re­flec­tion­sOn­Pine.org.

PHOTO BY JILL JASUTA

The mu­ral, which high­lights Cam­bridge’s rich African-Amer­i­can his­tory, cul­ture and her­itage, par­tic­u­larly in the com­mu­nity around Pine Street, gets some fi­nal touch-ups at Mary­land Ave. and U.S. Route 50 in Cam­bridge.

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