The mural shown above is located on the first floor of the former building of the Graham and Parks Alternative Public School, at 44 Upton Street. The Mural is called "Education Is Liberation / The Rosa Parks Mural," and was created in 1984 by artist David Fichter on a commission from the Cambridge Arts Council.
Saundra Graham and Rosa Parks are depicted in the middle (or third) section of the image, Graham to the right of Parks. Running figures vignetted in the lower right area of the mural depict some of the ethnic and other communities from which Graham and Parks has drawn its students.
The main section of the mural measures 133 inches high by 295 inches wide; an 18 inch-high section (not shown) extends a further 87 inches to the upper left. The medium is acrylic on brick. Because the mural is in a narrow hallway and the (amateur) photographer had no special equipment, the image is a composite of five separate photographs, each taken at a different angle.
On this page are presented the biographies of the two namesakes of the school -- Saundra Graham and Rosa Parks. The texts are taken verbatim from the program to the Dedication of the Graham and Parks Alternative Public School, Saturday, October 15, 1983.
Other historical information on the school can be found at the timeline page.
Saundra Graham was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 5, 1941, one of eleven children of Roberta Betts Postell and Charles B. Postell. She attended public schools in Cambridge, the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University Extension. In 1978 she received a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard.
Saundra first gained international attention in 1970 when she led a group of neighborhood residents and disrupted a Harvard University commencement. For over a year before the incident Cambridge citizens of the Riverside neighborhood had attempted to get a response from the university for its continued real estate expansion. Through her action, Harvard finally acknowledged publically its covert role in what was actual displacement of long-time residents from their homes. Harvard responded by constructing an elderly housing complex and ten years later, a family housing complex.
In 1968, Saundra became a member of the Board of Directors of the Cambridge Community Center. In 1970, she served as president of the Riverside Planning Team and in 1971, as president of Riverside Cambridgeport Community Development Corporation ("RCCC"). As one of the co-founders of RCCC, she helped to shape it as one of the most successful community development corporations in the nation. RCCC still seeks to provide low and moderate income housing for Cambridge residents and to upgrade existing housing stock.
Saundra Graham was elected to the Cambridge City Council in 1971 and from 1972 to the present  has served as Chairwoman of its Housing and Land Use Committee. She played a key role in obtaining federal housing dollars for Cambridge. Roosevelt Towers, Jefferson Park and Washington Elms public housing complexes received comprehensive rehabilitation and modernization funds through her efforts. She led the struggle for rent control in the early 1970s and remains a committed leader.
In the late 1960s Saundra was divorced and continued to raise her five children as a single parent.
From 1976 to 1977 Saundra served as Vice-Mayor of Cambridge. In 1977 and 1978 she served as Chairwoman of the Multicultural Arts Center Committee in Cambridge. Through her work, one historic East Cambridge courthouse was saved from demolition and will soon be opened as a center for Multicultural Arts.
In 1976 Saundra was elected to the General Court of Massachusetts. She is the first black woman representative from Cambridge to the State House. Today, she serves as Chairwoman of the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus and as a member of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. She continues to play an active role in housing at the state level where she is a member of the Joint House-Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development.
Saundra is also a member of the Boston Black United Fund and serves as Secretary to the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.
Another major concern of Saundra's is the need for quality childcare in the Commonwealth. She founded the Childcare Coalition which is a state-wide collective of community child advocacy groups and individuals.
Saundra is a long-time advocate of nuclear disarmament as well as an activist in the nuclear freeze movement. She recently co-chaired the Massachusetts Coalition for the August 27, 1983 March on Washington.
She is a recipient of numerous awards some of which include the 1976 National Sojourner Truth Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc.; the 1980 Recognition Award by the Central Square Cambridge Businessmen's Association and the 1982 "Woman of the Year" in government award by the Boston Chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Saundra has been dedicated to obtaining economic justice for the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, minorities and women. She continues to fight for affirmative action and enforcement, housing, childcare, environmental protection, tax reform and a state budget that provides for quality human services. 
(1913 - 2005)
Rosa Louise Parks was born February 4, 1913 to James and Leona McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama. The family moved to Montgomery when Rosa was eleven years old. She attended Montgomery Industrial School for Girls where she learned many things she wasn't learning from her life in the segregated South. In 1931 Rosa married Mr. Raymond Parks. The Parks' were long-time activists in the pursuit of civil rights, long before it was popular. Mr Parks was a freedom fighter for the Scottsboro Boys in the 1930s. Both were involved in voter registration drives for blacks. Rosa Parks was the secretary for the Montgomery Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was also the Youth Director for the organization.
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus as whe was coming home from her work as a tailor's helper at a Montgomery department store. She sat in the "colored section". As the bus began to fill with passengers, there was a white man standing. The driver asked three black people to stand so the white man could be seated. They moved. Rosa Parks remained seated. She told the driver, "I am not going to move. I have paid my money." The driver remarked, "I will have you arrested." She told him, "Go ahead." Her action began the Montgomery bus boycott which lasted a year and resulted in the United States Supreme Court outlawing the segregation of public transportation. Her courageous demonstration altered the course of American history and changed the face of America.
Since that historic day in Alabama, Mrs. Parks continued her work in the civil rights movement and received several citations for her outstanding contributions. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference sponsors the annual Rosa Parks Freedom Award. She received an honorary doctorate from Shaw College in Detroit, Michigan. In 1976 Mayor Coleman Young and the Detroit City Council renamed a main thoroughfare "Rosa Parks Boulevard". In 1977 the United Automobile Workers awarded her the Social Justice Award. In the same year she received the Humanitarian Award from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In 1978 the Progressive National Baptist Convention presented her the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award.
In April, 1978 the National Committee for the Rosa L. Parks Shrine was established. The purposes of the committee were to build a home for Mrs. Parks, a museum and conference center. The center was to house Mrs. Parks' personal papers and memorabilia as well as provide a site for research and study of the civil rights movement. The Detroit Historical District has granted the site on Rosa Parks Boulevard landmark status and ground was broken in 1982. As Mrs. Parks was also interested in programs which promote better relations between young people and senior citizens, the National Committee for the Rosa L. Parks Shrine also supports the continued development of the Rosa Parks Community Arts Center in Detroit. This center, established in 1980, offers classes and private instruction in art, music, dance and drama to citizens of all ages from Detroit's inner city.
Rosa L. Parks became known as the mother of the civil rights movement in America. She has inspired many national black leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, E.D. Nixon, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Jesse Jackson of PUSH. They and others have emerged to change the course of America. This petite, modest, delicate woman has become a symbol of courage for all Americans by demonstrating to the world the power of simple words, "I am not going to move."