Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Ilsley, Paul J.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


African American mural painting and decoration--Illinois--Chicago; Street art--Illinois--Chicago; African Americans--Illinois--Chicago; Afrocentrism--Illinois--Chicago


This study is a critical analysis of the Chicago Community Mural Movement from an Afrocentric perspective. It analyzes the perception and artwork of key African-American founders and early participants of the movement from its founding in Chicago in 1967 to its multiculturalization in 1970. In this span of time, African Americans would not only be recognized as the pioneers of the community mural aesthetic but the movement's dominant practitioners. By tracing the Community Mural Movement from its origination, it is demonstrated that African Americans were also the political, spiritual, and aesthetic consciousness of the movement as well. This study explores themes essential to African-American creative consciousness and education during the developing years of the Community Mural Movement. This study relied on data collected from several reservoirs, specifically interviews of founding members and early participants, iconographic analysis of the works, eyewitness accounts, mural experts, the literature base, and my personal experiences and extrapolations as a professional artist, art educator, African American, and Chicago south-side native. The critical themes that emerged include empowerment, self-determination, identity, Black pride, reclaiming community, revelation, spiritual value, transformation, consciousness raising, historical value, racism, symbolism, purpose of art, quality, education, and the artist Bill Walker. One curious finding that emerged from the study is a concept I identify as revelatory experiences. A model emerged from an analysis of these experiences that illustrate the phenomenon. The Community Mural Movement was an important artistic phenomenon and a valuable educational and cultural experience for Black artists and their community. The movement represented the first time that African Americans would found a visual art movement of national significance that would cross cultural boundaries and contribute substantially to the visual arts aesthetic dialogue in American society. The Community Mural Movement, a revival of the art of mural painting, would, in a relatively short span of time, have not only national but international significance as a form of political protest, education, and community empowerment.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [307]-320).


[xvii], 351 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type