This mural was painted on Ellis Street between Prince Street and Ashby Avenue in Berkeley, California. The photographer of the image is Todd Mathews. The mural is approximately 10 feet tall and 192 feet long. The “Reparations Now!” mural was created on July 26, 2020, in response to the violence against Black Americans as well as a national call for racial equality.
The main colors on the mural are red, yellow, and green, symbolizing the Pan-African flag. The mural was sanctioned and was aided by neighbors on Ellis Street who painted the colorful letters to send out a message demanding reparations for those whose descendants were enslaved. The residents believe it was “necessary and appropriate” in the wake of such social reform. This mural was the third consecutive mural to be painted in Berkeley since the killing of George Floyd. In the previous month, students from Berkeley High School painted a “Black Lives Matter” mural on Allston Way and another mural that reads, “Ohlone Territory” on Milvia Street during a wake of protests that occurred back in March of the same year.
One of the neighbors, Masha Albrecht, said the date of the mural's creation is on what would have been the 77th birthday of Margy Wilkinson, who lived in the middle of Ellis block. Margy was also one of the main organizers and supporters of the mural. One of the members present for the creation of this mural was a local muralist named Edythe Boone, who is an activist and educator on the issues of racism, poverty, and violence associated with young people of color. It is unclear today if the mural still exists, but it has prompted local governments to consider reparations for Black Americans, just as reparations have been made to Japanese Americans who were forced into internment camps during WWII.
“Reparations Now Street Mural, Berkeley, CA,” George Floyd & Anti-Racist Street Art,
accessed March 14, 2023, https://georgefloydstreetart.omeka.net/items/show/3445.
Taylor, Tracey. “Reparations Street Mural Now Complete on Ellis Street.” Berkeleyside, 4 Oct.
Taylor, Tracey. “Berkeley Neighbors Start Work on Street Mural Calling for 'Reparations
Now!'.” Berkeleyside, 4 Aug. 2022, https://www.berkeleyside.org/2020/07/23/berkeley-neighbors-start-work-on-street-mural-calling-for-reparations-now.Researched by the Urban Art Mapping Team
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