Recently painted mural in Frenchtown honors Rosa Parks

Kollet Hardeman in front of her mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Courtesy of Tori Lynn Schneider

It’s no secret: murals make our neighborhoods beautiful.

Local artists are adding color to walls and streets that would otherwise go unnoticed. Buildings around Tallahassee have recently become more vibrant, and that’s not because of the shifting seasons. Groups that aim to foster local creativity and involve the community have turned vacant walls into massive civic canvases, and local communities will have a lasting influence on the outcomes of their work.

Kollet Hardeman, an artist, creator, and streamer says she was excited to bring historic icon Rosa Parks to life, since she is a pivotal figure in both civil rights and Black history.

“I was hired to paint Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the building had a second matching wall that could be utilized with another divine woman of power,” Hardeman said. “With input from the Frenchtown community on which civil rights leader would be the best fitting, we agreed on none other than Rosa Parks. My only contribution after deciding collectively was, ‘I would not paint Rosa Parks’ 1956 mugshot,’ because I didn’t want to introduce Rosa Parks this way to the younger generation.”

 The vibrant mural painted last November reads a quote from Parks floating above her headshot, while being surrounded by multiple colors.

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”

The quote from Parks is found in her new biography, “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words,” written by Susan Reyburn of the Library of Congress.

Zion Blakely, a student at Florida A&M University, says his father is a Frenchtown native, and the recent local art has become dear to him.

Rosa Parks mural by Kollet Hardeman Courtesy of Chelsea Arnett

Rosa Parks mural by Kollet Hardeman Courtesy of Chelsea Arnett

“It shows my roots. I feel like it’s a part of my roots,” Blakely said. “Rosa Parks is Black history, Frenchtown is Black history and automatically, I am Black history. This mural brings self-empowerment as an African-American, especially here in Tallahassee.”

Jenesis Johnson, a student at Florida State University says Rosa Parks is such an inspiration to her.

“She is one of my favorite icons in the civil rights movement,” Johnson said. “She did not move even when everyone told her to get up. She saw the bigger picture. Her not giving up her seat changed race relations forever.”

Black history is a time of rejoicing, celebrating and thanking those for current opportunities and life lessons that can be used today. You can check out this mural and Hardemann’s Ginsburg mural located at the Florida People’s Advocacy Center in FrenchTown near the Frenchtown Farmers’ Market.