New Mural on 10th Street: “Voices of MLK”

10th St Mural

These 12 artists, who all live and/or work in the Chattanooga area, painted this year’s murals on the second side of the EPB 10th Street Substation: (left to right) Rea Shaw, Sara Tolbert, Jerome Foster, Ann Jackson, Nathaniel Stepney, Laura Dahlke, Karen Estes, Madison Myers, Mimi McAllister, Dannita Noble & La-Tesia Poole. (Not pictured: Ty Swint)

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — New murals have been added to the northwest wall of EPB’s 10th street power station.

The 2022 mural theme is “Voices of MLK,” highlighting the history of the Martin Luther King Boulevard Area.

“This is just a really ice way to showcase some of the amazing things that have happened right here in our city, in our community, by some local artists that live here, work here, that play here,” said Ken Jones, a representative from EPB.

Artists were sourced locally, mirroring the area’s history of artistic expression.

“Chattanooga’s 9th street, now Martin Luther King Boulevard, rivaled the likes of Beale Street in Memphis and Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and produced many, many famous artists over the years, including the well-known Bessie Smith,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly.

The titular mural, “Voices of MLK,” features the faces of five women who left a nightclub on MLK in 1980, and were shot by three members of the Ku Klux Klan.

“They were shot, right? For no reason whatsoever. But they took them to court and fought for their rights, and I believe they actually won the case,” said Jones.

They did win the case, prevailing with a federal lawsuit that set a precedent for pursuing justice in cases of racially motivated violence.

“This is not about me. I got an opportunity to create some art, and hopefully honor them in a really beautiful way. But their story needs to be known; it needs to be talked about; it’s still relevant,” said Karen Estes, the artist who made “Voices of MLK.”

Opal Jackson, who was among the group of women shot, was present to see her mural on the wall.

She is 88 years old.

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