After years of planning and fundraising by several community organizations in Joplin, the Unity Mural at 1st and Main St was unveiled Sunday afternoon.
Charles McPherson and his wife Lynn were on-hand to witness the occasion. Also in attendance was Marjol Rush-Collet, a cousin of Langston Hughes. McPherson and Hughes are featured prominently in the new mural; both are Joplin natives. Mayor Pro Tem Kenan Cortez was also in attendance to proclaim September 18 Alexander Austin day in Joplin.
“Oh boy, I just want to thank all of you. And let you know I love all of you. Each and every last one of you. Thank for you loving my work. I’m so happy to be here in Joplin. It’s been a blessing. Nanda Nulley, Linda, you guys have treated me so nice. I’ve been spoiled.”
Austin is the acclaimed Kansas City-based artist who created the new mural. He was self-taught and has been painting for over 35 years. The project includes 11 African Americans born in Joplin or who performed in Joplin, including Cab Calloway, Ella Johnson, and Sammy Davis Jr.