The start of spring has inspired me to get out mural hunting. And talking to my friends B and R about Cabrini Green has inspired me to post this mural in particular.
All of Mankind is one of 3 murals by William Walker that still exists in Chicago. He painted it in 1972 on a building that was then the San Marcello Mission church and stood at the edge of the growing Cabrini-Green public housing development. The church has been for sale for quite a while and is expected to be demolished as redevelopment continues in the area. But last summer, my friend M and I found it still standing on West Evergreen near Stanton Park.
Like much of Walker’s work, the mural considers themes of racial harmony, civil rights, and cultural respect. The center window features 4 children representing different races. Their faces are interconnected, a motif in several of Walker’s murals.
Above the children, you can still make out the names of Jesus, Anne Frank, Malcolm X and Dr. King. Historic photos show that the border above the names originally read “Why were they crucified”.
Faces peer up from the sides…
and two children of different races share a meal at the bottom.
A group of Chicagoans has come together to protect the 1901 church and preserve Walker’s mural. Lots of great information (and old photos!) is available from the Chicago Public Art Group.