William Walker (muralist)
|Died||September 12, 2011|
|Education||Columbus Gallery of Art|
William Walker is a notable muralist in Chicago. He was one of the founders of the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC) and one of the leaders in the project involving the Wall of Respect. He was also one of the critical founders of the mural movements in Chicago during the 1960s.
William Walker was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1927. Although born in the South, he grew up in Chicago. After serving in World War II and in the Korean War, he studied fine arts at the Columbus Gallery of Art in Columbus, Ohio (now Columbus College of Art and Design), and became the first African-American man to win the 47th annual group exhibition award.
After graduating, he went to Memphis where he painted his first murals. A year later in 1955, Walker returned to Chicago and worked as a decorative painter and a postal worker. In 1967, he participated in a project related to the Organization for Black American Culture. This project was a community mural that would honor African American heroes and was named "The Wall of Respect". The Wall of Respect started a nationwide movement of "people's art". From there, Walker cofounded the Chicago Mural Group (now known as the Chicago Public Art Group) with John Pitman Weber and Eugene Eda, while continuing to paint murals in Chicago. Walker painted murals to make the community more aware of the racial strife going on in America at that time and to spur individuals to get more involved in solving racial problems.
William Walker was found dead of natural causes in his apartment in Chicago on September 12, 2011.
|Wall of Respect||1967||43rd Street and Langley Avenue, Chicago||Destroyed by fire, 1971|
|Wall of Dignity||1968||Mack Avenue and Lillibridge, Detroit|
|Harriet Tubman Memorial Wall||1968||Mack Avenue and Lillibridge, Detroit|
|Wall of Truth||1969||43rd Street and Langley Avenue, Chicago||Destroyed by fire, 1971|
|Peace and Salvation: The Wall of Understanding||1970||872 N. Orleans, Chicago||Destroyed, 1991|
|All of Mankind||1971-73||617 W. Evergreen Ave, Chicago||Whitewashed 2015|
|History of the Packing House Worker||1975||4859 South Wabash, Chicago||Restored, 1998|
|Wall of Daydreaming and Man's Inhumanity to Man||1975||47th Street and Calumet Avenue, Chicago||Restored, 2003|
|Childhood is Without Prejudice||1977||56th Street and Stony Island Avenue, Chicago||Restored, 1993 and 2009|
|Justice Speaks: Delbert Tibbs/New Trial or Freedom||1977||57th Street and Lake Park, Chicago||Destroyed in Metra renovation, 2001/2|
|St. Martin Luther King||1977||49th Street and Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago||Destroyed after being defaced|
|Reaching Children/Touching People||1980||975 E. 132nd Street, Chicago|
|You Are as Good as Anyone||1980|
|Wall of Community Respect||1983|
|Tribute to Harold Washington||47th and Champlain|
- "Images of Conscience: The Art of Bill Walker", Chicago State University, 1984
- "Bill Walker: Urban Griot", Hyde Park Art Center, 2017–18
Awards and honors
- 1986: City Brightener Award, Bright New City
- 1998: Hall of Honor, Illinois Labor History Society
- Dunitz, Robin J., and James Prigoff. Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals. Rohnert: Pomegranate Communications, 2000.
- Gray, Mary Lackritz. A Guide to Chicago's Murals. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2001.
- Gude, Olivia. Urban Art Chicago: A Guide to Community Murals, Mosaics, and Sculptures. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2000.
- Huebner, Jeff W. Walls of Prophecy & Protest: William Walker and the Roots of a Revolutionary Public Art Movement. Northwestern University Press, 2019.
- Huebner, Jeff (1997-08-28). "Man Behind the Wall". Chicago Reader.
- Huebner, Jeff (2001-09-06). "Back to the Walls: Public art advocates rally to save the last remnants of the famous "Mural Revolution."". Chicago Reader.
- Ehmke, Layton and Justine Jablonska (2009-12-09). "A Chicago mural tells a story of a recent past, but will the future accept it?". Medill Reports - Chicago.
- "The CPAG Watch List". Chicago Reader. 2001-09-06.
- "City hires 3 artists in new building plan". Chicago Tribune. 1979-06-28. p. W5.
- Cummings, Cecilia (1986-03-27). "20 win awards for brightening life in Chicago". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 66.
- "1998 Hall of Honor".