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Talladega College Showcases Historic Murals in Chicago

A TALLADEGA BREEZE SWEEPS THE WINDY CITY TALLADEGA COLLEGE HOSTS EXHIBITION RECEPTION IN CHICAGO

Talladega, Alabama— Chicago is the third most populous city in the U.S., and it’s also a premier world city noted for its worldwide economic and cultural influence. A 70+ year-old treasure was on display Thursday night for many to see in this influential city.

Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, president; the Talladega College Board of Trustees, and the Talladega College Alumni Association Midwest Region welcomed guests to a special celebration of the Talladega College Hale Woodruff Murals Exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The Talladega College Murals were originally constructed between 1939-1942. They are six, vibrant, colorful, awe-inspiring renditions of American history. The murals depict the mutiny on La Amistad, the Spanish ship carrying the Mende slaves; the ensuing historical first civil rights case in the United States and more. The panels are entitled: “The Mutiny on the Amistad, The Trial of the Amistad Captives, The Repatriation of the Freed Captives, The Underground Railroad, The Building of Savery Library and Opening Day at Talladega College. These murals and 30 other works of famed Harlem Renaissance artist, Hale A. Woodruff, are on display at the center. Woodruff was commissioned in 1938 by Talladega College to create art for the opening of its library and to commemorate the 100th centennial anniversary of the Amistad mutiny, the trial and freeing of the Mende slaves in America.

Last year, the national tour of the exhibit, “Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College,” began in June at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to the tour opening, the murals had undergone a twelve-month conservation and restoration process as a result of the collaborative project agreement between Talladega College and the High Museum.  The six panel murals are considered to be the greatest works of Hale Woodruff.  Talladega College and the High Museum entered an agreement to restore, research and exhibit the murals.

Following the stop in Atlanta, the tour proceeded to the African American Museum in Dallas, Texas. The murals were displayed through February 2013 at the museum located in Fair Park. These celebrated Woodruff works were a highlight during the Texas State Fair. Woodruff’s artwork was exhibited in the 30’s at the Hall of Negro Life in 1936 during the Texas Centennial. Seventy-six years later, his works were again displayed for Texans and visitors to behold.

Talladega College president, Dr. Billy C. Hawkins and the Board of Trustees are proud to share this treasure with the world which depicts monumental moments in America’s past. “This is a historic time for Talladega College. As the nation celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, it’s an added milestone to have our murals on a national tour in major museums across the country. We are grateful to the city of Chicago for welcoming us,” remarks Dr. Hawkins.

The Rising Up exhibit will be on display at The Chicago Cultural Center through June 16.  Following this visit, the murals will proceed to NYU in New York City. For more information on the tour, go to AmistadMurals.com or www.talladega.edu.

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