Conard Art Department Paints New Mural For Black History Month

By: Ben Davis

In recognition of Black History Month, a new mural has appeared in the main hall. Tributes to influential Black activists, politicians, and more, including but not limited to Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and Conard’s own Mr. Hines, honor their contributions to society and our community. Many onlookers slow down and turn or stop in front of the mural to analyze the work. In solidarity with movements to end racial inequality, the piece also depicts a raised fist, a symbol many activists, Chieftains included, have embraced. A presentation sent to some West Hartford Public Schools staff outlines the importance of Black History, citing “Black History is American history”, representing ongoing district-wide effort to address an often-overlooked role Black people had, and continue to have, in America. Relative to Connecticut’s demographics, the student population at Conard is fairly diverse, something regularly recited at Conard with pride. Along with daily announcements sharing the accomplishments of individual Black people throughout U.S. history, Conard’s community has demonstrated its commitment to welcome diverse cultures and backgrounds.

 

Rosa Parks, renowned civil rights activist, and abolitionist Harriet Tubman are both depicted in the mural.  They join Oprah Winfrey, known for her outstanding success from The Oprah Winfrey Show and entrepreneurship. Nearby is Maya Angelou, who wrote and delivered the poem On the Pulse of Morning at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration and was known for her memoirs on racial oppression. Amanda Gorman, the youth poet who recited her poem, The Hill We Climb, at President Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.  She was interviewed by another person on the tree: Michelle Obama, the first African American First Lady of the United States, alongside Barack Obama, the first African American president. The first African American vice president, Kamala Harris, is also pictured. W.E.B. Dubois, an activist and author of the landmark book The Souls of Black Folk is framed next to Harris.

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