‘Master Craftsman’ Captures Civil Rights in Cement, Stone

Fourteen Terrazzo panels constructed by the Florida State Master Craftsman Studio will honor Civil Rights Activists, the Tallahassee Bus Boycott and McQueary’s Lunch Counter sit-in of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

“These Terrazzo side panels were crafted by the studio and contain images and text of significant civil rights events that took place in Tallahassee,” Wayne Spinx, sculptor for Master Craftsman Studio.

Terrazzo is cement-based like a sidewalk, but the pigment in terrazzo is made of different stones and other material including shells, mother of pearl and even chips of mirror.

“Being a part of such a historical piece for Tallahassee grew in importance for the studio the further we progressed on the project,” said Phil Gleason, studio manager for Florida State Master Craftsman Studio.

“As we realized the gravity of the artwork, it also dawned on us what a significant piece of history this will be for Tallahassee. It was an honor to collaborate on such a necessary story telling.”

The Craftsman Studio took images they received from the city and mixed different colors in the terrazzo to create the enlarged image on the panels.

Spinx said terrazzo gives you more options as far as different colors and different textures you can create with the different types of stone included.

The city created the general layout of the panels, which included photographs, protest signs, counter and bus images.

The City Manager selected the committee members, said Dan Donovan of the Leon County Planning Department.

Donovan said the committee was made up of veterans of the sit-in demonstrations and the bus boycott. The panel also included local artists and interested citizens.

The Heritage Walk will have brass footprints, cut out of brass sheath, of the names of many civil rights activists of Tallahassee throughout the terrazzo plate design.

William Guzman, director at the Office of Black Diasporan Culture, said the Heritage Walk shows the power of mass social movements, particularly at HBCU’s like Florida A&M.

FAMU Students can build on the future by learning their past.

“The students gain a sense of historical appreciation. They feel a sense of responsibility and duty to continue that tradition in order to honor the memory of their ancestors,” Guzman said.

Monroe and Jefferson was the original location for the Heritage Walk, Seminole Tribe of Florida decided to demolish a building next to Monroe and Jefferson to build a parking lot, directly where the Heritage Walk would go. A new location is yet to be determined by the city.