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Culture Things To Do

Powerful Martin Luther King, Jr. Murals Around L.A.

By Ashlyn Davis

Powerful Martin Luther King, Jr. Murals Around L.A.

Artists around L.A. are keeping the dream alive.

Today, people around America will pause to reflect on the legacy of the charismatic Baptist minister and social activist who was instrumental in the civil rights movement in the U.S. from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. Martin Luther King, Jr. is easily one of the most quotable speakers of the 20th century and his iconic I Have a Dream speech, which called for equality and freedom, remains as impactful and relevant now as it was on August 28, 1963.

While the pandemic has disrupted most public celebrations and plans for the federal holiday, we’re still able to appreciate the works around L.A. that have immortalized Dr. King and inspire us to dream.

1. Cafe de Leche

This stunning MLK mural by well-known artist Tristan Eaton was defaced earlier this year. He first painted the piece on the side of Café de Leche on York Boulevard during the Black Lives Matter protests and was subsequently covered with racial slurs. But Eaton’s reaction was to paint over it with a Malcolm X mural and to relentlessly ensure these powerful messages of justice and equality remain intact.

Location: 5000 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Artist: @tristaneaton

2. L.A. Coliseum

This tribute mural was created to commemorate the 2015 Special Olympics and the World Games held at the L.A. Coliseum. Artist David Flores did it in his signature fragmented, stained glass style portraying a pensive King amongst other prominent figures. It inspires passersby to take a moment to ponder.
Location: 3916 Bill Robertson Lane, Los Angeles, CA

3.  Martin Luther King Elementary

Five years ago today, this vibrant depiction of Dr. King was unveiled at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Compton. The work was created by Mark Paul Deren in partnership with Branded Arts for Turnaround Arts California. It features whimsical scribbles, various school resources and the words “dream” written in bold letters. There couldn’t be a more fitting message for students from America’s great visionary.

Location: 2270 E 122nd St, Compton, CA

Artist: @madsteez

4. The City of Compton Courthouse and Library

At Compton Civic Center, on the opposite side of the courthouse, a small stage with a mural of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a quote that reads, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere.” If you wander around the memorial you’ll find dozens of incredible mosaic pieces by artist Armando Campero.

Location: 205 S. Willowbrook Dr., Compton, CA

More murals have been captured by New York-based photographer Camilo José Vergara depicting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. across the country by various artists. Here are a few of the most recognizable ones. 

Location: Lupita Discount Store, Compton Avenue at 55th Street, Los Angeles

Location: South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles

Location: Ocean Tires #2, East Colden Avenue close to South Avalon Boulevard, Los Angeles

Location: Avalon Boulevard South of Colden Avenue, Los Angeles

Featured Image: @madsteez via Instagram