"Further the Dream" Mural
The "Further the Dream" Mural portrays the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The project was sponsored by the King Open and King Arts Committee and completed in June of 2000. Designed and painted by the students of King Open and King Schools, with assistance from teachers, families and residents. The mural project was directed by Kelley Mowers and David Fichter—funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, The Cambridge Arts Council, The Cambridge Community Foundation, Foley, Hoac & Eliot Foundations, Draper Labs, Friends of King Open and the City of Cambridge School Department. Supplies for the project were donated by Classic Restoration and Sterrit Lumber.
The first mural was painted directly onto the lower ramp wall. It portrays "the Symphony of Brotherhood," the idea for which comes from Dr. King's I Have a Dream speech. The children drew pictures of each other in music class as well as instruments from around the world. Click here to see the pictures.
The upper ramp mural depicts the complete story of King's life—not just his life and death, but also the people he worked with and his mentors. The mural uses the symbol of the bridge as a connector and as a framing device to break down specific historical periods. It is also based on Selma's Pettus Bridge, where the voting Rights campaign culminated thirty-five years ago. The children in the foreground are seen running, leaping and spinning on their way into school. This parallels the movement and motion of history. The two motions meet in the image of the dragon, which leads the entire movement of the mural to the welcoming figure of the young girl over the doorway into the King and Amigos School building. Click here to see the picture.
The dragon is a metaphor for Dr. Martin Luther King, as they share the attributes of wisdom, strength, and good fortune. The images of children and teachers coordinated in such a way as to be able to carry the dragon symbolizes the spirit of cooperation in working towards a common goal. The dragon is also a symbol of water. Water, as the river of history, comes out of the mountain to start the timeline for the mural. First, there are images of the pre-civil rights non-violence movements, such as the Boston Tea Party during the American Revolution—an analog to the Montgomery bus boycott, the Underground Railroad, the Suffragette movement and Ida B. Wells. Click here to see the picture.
As soon as the water reaches the bridge, Dr. King is born. We see him as a baby, we see him on his paper route. There is his childhood home in Atlanta. Other images show him at his graduation from Boston University, his marriage to Coretta Scott King, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, his church and with Rosa Parks. There is Freedom Summer, the Voting Rights Campaign, Robert Moses and the Algebra Project and other important passages of the Civil Rights Movement.
While the mural can be appreciated on a number of intellectual, contemplative, and emotional levels, it also succeeds in reaching its audience through the sheer exuberance of its brilliant colors, patterns, and abundant collective energy.
Special thanks to all who made this possible.
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