By Karen Wells | CNA Media Team
The 1984 Malcolm X mural, “Black Pride,” features the iconic face of the influential civil and human rights activist of the 1960s.
His original family name was Little, and he was a charismatic and outspoken leader in the Nation of Islam, the Black Muslim faith tradition.
Malcolm’s face and extended pointing index finger dominate the mural on 17th Avenue at Alberta Street. The use of a dynamic two-tone color palette suggests to the viewer a sense of urgency of purpose.
It is the second oldest surviving mural in Portland, and was installed during the Albina Mural Project, with funding provided by the Metropolitan Arts Commission.
“Black Pride” was one of several murals installed throughout the African American community of the 1970s. Originally it was one of two panels painted by artist Lewis Harris and students of the Black Educational Center, which was housed at the same location. The companion mural no longer exists.
The remaining mural, “Black Pride,” was allowed to remain and be re-incorporated into the surrounding visual landscape but, across the years, it was vandalized. In 2016, a team of five artists – assembled by the collaborative efforts of Lifeworks NW, Project UMOJA and Alberta Art Works – repaired and partially restored the mural.
Little background or historical information is available on the artist, Lewis Harris, or the students of the Black Educational Center who assisted with the mural. If you have information on the mural – or the artist – contact CNewsEditor@ConcordiaPDX.org.