Black community celebrates heroes: 50 years since racist mural was torn down from City Hall

ST. PETERSBURG – This Sun., March 20, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) will hold an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the heroic action of Chairman Omali Yeshitela (then known as Joe Waller), who tore down a racist mural from the St. Petersburg’s City Hall along with Jody Wall, John Bryant, Lemuel Green, Tommy Williams and Crawford Jones.

The program will be held at the Uhuru House and will feature presentations by Yeshitela, Wall, Bryant and the son of Green, who were all members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee at the time of the January 29, 1966, mural incident.

Wall, Bryant and Green (posthumously) will be honored for their participation in tearing down the racist mural.

The wall where the mural hung, in the stairway leading to the city council chambers, has stood empty for 50 years. The city announced plans to replace the mural, and according to the city’s Request for Proposal related to the mural replacement, they want the mural to “respect the history of the events surrounding the tearing down of the original mural and will celebrate a city of opportunity for all, and the advances of civil rights and inclusivity in the city today.”

Mural Removed, featured

The Uhuru Movement will make it possible for the black community of St. Pete to choose what goes on that wall. Akilé Anai, international membership coordinator, stated that: “the black community will decide what will go up and to who the city will send the $10,000 they are offering for the cover up.”

According to Yeshitela, founder and leader of the Uhuru Movement, “This is a cover up of the reality faced by African people in St. Pete today. The African community has the right to decide what should go on that wall and to control the narrative of our people’s struggle for freedom. The city continues to turn a deaf ear to the voice and demands of our community and refuses to allow us to even control the art that records the history of our own struggle.”

The event is free and open to the public. It will take place at 1245 18th Ave. S, St. Petersburg, and begins at 4 p.m. For more information or any information on the whereabouts of Williams and Jones, please call (727) 821-6620.

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