Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

September 26, 2013

Coming soon

New floodwall murals will honor city's black residents

ASHLAND — After a break of several years, two new murals are about the be added to Ashland’s floodwall. Both will celebrate  the impact of Ashland’s small black population. While never representing more than a tiny percentage of the city’s population, blacks have contributed much more  to the history and cultural and spiritual life of this community than their numbers would indicate.

The two murals being painted by Jerry Johnson, Ashland’s talented black artist, will attempt to capture the essence of that contribution.

The first mural to be painted will feature six historic black churches in the area. The churches include New Hope Baptist Church, Johnson Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Christ Temple Church, and St. James African Methodist in Ashland, plus a small A.M.E. church in Greenup and an unnamed church in Russell. 

A second mural will be a tribute to the 1947 class of Booker T. Washington School, an all-black school that was on Central Avenue where Dawson Pool now is. The mural will show the school, along with alumni and teachers. The basketball team and the marching band also will be depicted.

The United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods, or UCAN, has  committed to paying for the murals, which will cost an estimated $20,000. UCAN, a nonprofit founded by the dynamic and talented Brenda Martin, has yet to raise that much money for the murals, but it has decided to start work on the murals as a step of faith,

“We have faith that as people see them growing, they will want to support and be a part of this multicultural project,” said Martin. “We are glad to see it happen and I believe the excitement will be shared with the area and they will come forth with the support.”

Martin admits raising funds for the murals “has been a very long journey.” Here’s hoping Martin’s faith will be rewarded and the murals will be unveiled and dedicated debt-free.

“Jerry is a wonderful artist and I know he is going to bring a lot of vitality and color and artistic creativity to the walls and that area that has become a good attraction and a source of pride for the community,”  Martin said. We hope she’s right.

Work on the murals is expected to begin Tuesday. Martin hopes the first mural depicting the churches will be completed before winter.

That mural will be dedicated to the late Suffragan Bishop Elzy Thomas, who died this year. Thomas, who led Christ Temple Church for more than half a century, was a vocal supporter of the project, as well as an outspoken community advocate. He also was a 1950 graduate of the Booker T. Washington School. Thomas was one of the best liked and admired people in this community, and that should help the fund-raising efforts.

Those who would like to donate to the project can do so through UCAN Inc. Donations are tax deductible. Checks can be mailed to UCAN at P.O. Box 104 Russell, KY 41169-0104. Those who send checks should note the donation is for the mural project. For more information, email Brenda Martin at ucanhelp@windstream.net.

Although not nearly as visible as the floodwall murals in neighboring Catlettsburg, the murals in Ashland have  brought a beautiful transformation to what was a rather unattractive floodwall that has protected this city from the rising waters of the Ohio River for decades. The two murals by Jerry Johnson will further enhance the floodwall and remind people that blacks have played and continue to play a significant role in our history.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO region with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • In Your View

    Letters to the editor

    April 3, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Dismal numbers

    The good news is that the health ratings of all but two area counties improved in the latest ranking of the state’s 120 counties. However, before we pat ourselves on the back for those improvements, the overall health of residents of counties in northeast Kentucky remains rather dismal. Yes, we are improving but we still have a long, long way to go.

    April 2, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone