City officials unveiled the Black Lives Matter mural on Colonial Avenue in a ceremony outside City Hall on Saturday morning.
The design by local artist Michael Little was chosen by citizens for the mural as part of the city’s Black Lives Matter street art project.
Ulysses Edwards and Richard Delain provided major assistance with the painting of the BLM fresco. The colonial avenue had been closed during the painting of the fresco but was reopened on Saturday at noon.
The mural consists of the words “Black Lives Matter” painted in yellow and spans approximately 700 feet from Town Hall to the Pasquotank County Library.
City Council authorized the mural following the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. by Pasquotank sheriff’s deputies on April 21.
“It’s done all over the country,” said the city’s Mayor Bettie Parker with a BLM mural. “What it does is it represents the disproportionate number of black men and women who have been killed by law enforcement across the country. Elizabeth City was not exempt from such an event.
Fourth Ward Councilor Darius Horton led the project’s efforts and praised the luminous design of the mural.
“They spent long hours here and took a vision and made it a reality,” said Horton. “It’s great that our small town is sending a national message that black lives matter. Yes, all lives matter. But until black lives matter, we can’t say all lives matter. “
Edwards and Delain described the town mural as a milestone in the BLM movement in the community. Little was unable to attend the unveiling ceremony.
“It’s a step forward and it’s been an honor to put this hard work on for our community and to do it,” said Edwards. “The goal is bigger than anyone who has been involved.”
Delain said he was “blessed” to be a part of the project. Besides the rain and hot weather, Delain and Edwards said they needed to repair damage to the mural caused by vandals. They said they were also threatened at some point during the project.
“We didn’t let anything stop us, we didn’t let anything stand in our way,” Delain said. “We kept our cool. “
City Manager Monte Freeman thanked the citizens who he said stopped daily during the mural painting to offer words of encouragement, provide food and drink and even volunteer to help with the project. of mural.
“We are touched by the outpouring of support from the local community and business leaders,” Freeman said. “It was an incredible experience watching artists use a simple paintbrush to create works of art that pay homage to the lives and contributions of African Americans.”
The artists received no compensation for painting the mural, but the city paid for the painting and other supplies. Edwards and Delain said a few final details of the mural will be added in the coming days.
More than 1,000 people voted to choose the design of the winning artist. Freeman said the vote was tight among the four competing models, but Little, 27, won by a comfortable margin.