As part of Black History Month 2021, nearly 30 walls in downtown Phoenix received meaningful makeovers. For each day in February, a mural celebrating Black heroes, icons, activists, athletes, musicians and more, was added to the city’s vibrant collection of street art.
The plan for the project, created by Gizette Knight of (then) Reality Dreams LLC, was made possible by a call to local artists, volunteers and, of course, the participating businesses and buildings.
Below you’ll find the latest information — and inspiration — to embark on a self-guided mural tour of Black History in Phoenix.
Please Note: This list reflects the murals that are still on display as of July 14, 2021. The 2022 Black History Mural Project is underway, updates will be added a murals are complete. Follow Shining Light Foundation on Facebook for the latest updates.
The Gold-Medal Olympians mural:
Serena Williams, a former No. 1 in women’s single tennis, has won a total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era. She took home the gold in singles in 2012 and in doubles in 2000, 2008 and 2012.
Wilma Rudolph (1940 – 1994), an American sprinter, was the first American woman to win three track-and-field gold medals in a single Olympics. At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, she took first the 100-meter, 200-meter and 4x100-meter relay races.
Florence Joyner (1958 – 1998), the fastest woman of all time, won three gold and one silver medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, before retiring the following year. She still holds the world records for both the 100- and 200-meter races.
Artist to come.
Parsons Center For Health and Wellness
The Good Trouble mural:
John Lewis (1940 – 2020) served in the Unites States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District and was honored for his civil rights activism and role on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Barack Obama was elected the first Black president of the United States in 2008 and, following reelection in 2012, served two terms.
Kamala Harris is the first female, the first Black, and first person of South Asian descent elected vice president, she is also the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history.
Portrait and background artist: @torvasm.
Loc’d Art Hair Spa
The Black Songstress mural:
Whitney Houston (1963 – 2012) was a singer, and actress, certified as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records. With over 200 million records sold worldwide, she is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time.
Diana Ross is a singer and actress who rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group, The Supremes, who became Motown's most successful act during the 1960s and one of the world's& best-selling girl groups of all time.
Aretha Franklin (1942 – 2018) was a singer, songwriter, actress, pianist and civil rights activist. In 1987, she became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Artists to come.
Charlie Parker (1920 – 1955) was a an influential solo jazz saxophonist and composer who lead the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and advanced harmonies. Artist: @eliasart31.
Billie Holiday (1915 – 1959) is remembered as one of the most influential jazz singers of all time. In 2000, she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Artist: @artthoutiffany.
Miles Davis (1926 – 1991) is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. In his five-decade career, he earned 32 Grammy Award nominations — eight of which he won. Artist: ;@creation80.
Background by @alisia.malta.
By Any Means mural:
Huey P. Newton (1942 – 1989) was a revolutionary who co-founded the Black Panther Party and created a ten-point program to guide the African-American community to liberation. Artist: @lalocota.
Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) was a prominent human rights activist and a vocal spokesman for the Nation of Islam. His articulated concepts of Black Nationalism made him an ideological hero, especially among Black youth. Artist: @tatocaraveo.
Stokely Carmichael (1941 – 1998) was a civil rights activist and leader of Black nationalism in the United States in the 1960s, during which period he originated the "Black Power" rallying slogan. Artist: @tatocaraveo.
Phoenix Professional Ballers mural:
Skylar Diggins-Smith is known for leading Notre Dame to three consecutive Final Fours and two consecutive NCAA championship appearances. In her first season with the Phoenix Mercury (2020), she made the All-WNBA Second Team.
Brianna Turner was coming off two national championship appearances with Notre Dame when she entered the 2019 WNBA Draft. And, in her first season with the Phoenix Mercury, she made the 2019 All-Rookie Team.
Chris Paul has earned the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award, an All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the league in assists four times. The accomplished point guard joined the Phoenix Suns ahead of the 2020 season.
Monty Williams brought an extensive career as both a player (1994 – 2003) and a coach to the Phoenix Suns when he was hired as head coach in 2019.
Jevon Carter was known as one of the top defensive players in college basketball, winning the NABC Defensive Player of the Year and Lefty Driesell Awards. The point guard joined the Phoenix Suns in 2019.
Phoenix Mercury artist: @eliasart31. Phoenix Suns artist: @torvasm. Black and white portraits and Mercury logo by @alisia.malta. Lettering, landscape background and Suns logo by @mmelanienicole.
George Washington Carver Museum
A New Hope mural:
George Washington Carver (1864 – 1943) is widely known as one of the most prominent Black scientists of the early 20th century. His work, which included crop rotation and methods to prevent soil depletion, earned him the NAACP's Spingarn Medal.
Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913) was an American abolitionist and political activist who escaped slavery and made 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 other enslaved people using the Underground Railroad.
Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) escaped slavery in Maryland and went on to become a national leader of the abolitionist movement who was recognized for his oratory and incisive antislavery writing.
Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles
The Culinary Queens mural:
Lucille Elizabeth Bishop Smith (1892 – 1985) invented the first hot biscuit mix that became a well-known brand served on American Airline flights and at the White House, eventually earning her the title of “Texas’s first African American Businesswoman.” Artist: @artthoutiffany.
Leyah (Leah) Chase (1923 – 2019), known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” provided a safe space for African Americans to meet during the civil rights movement, while advocating for African American Art and Creole Cooking. Artist: @evolvingthroughart.
Mrs. Elizabeth White began her family-owned chicken dynasty when she opened “Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe” in 1964. The White family has been serving timeless soul food classics to Phoenix ever since. Artist: @creation80.
Background by @eliasart31.
From the Negro League to the Hall of Fame mural:
Willard “Home Run" Brown (1915 – 1996) boasted a batting average of .337, making him one of the greatest power hitters of the Negro Leagues. He was also the first African-American to hit a home run in the American League. Artist: @creation80.
Jackie Robinson (1919 – 1972) broke through the baseball color barrier, and became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Artist: @artthoutiffany.
Willie Wells (1906 – 1989), a “five-tool player,” is recognized for his power, speed, accurate arm and defense during his time playing in the Mexican and Cuban Baseball Leagues. Artist: @evolvingthroughart.
Lettering by @eliasart3.