Frankie Muse Freeman

From Vacancy to Agency: St. Louis Murals of Redemption

Frankie Muse Freeman

St. Louis, Missouri 63107, United States

Created By: Mural Tours


In this portrait, Chris Green depicts Frankie Muse Freeman (1916-2018), known for being the first woman to be appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 1964. Although she was born in Danville, Virginia, she lived out much of her life in St. Louis after serving as the legal counsel to the NAACP legal team that filed a lawsuit against the St. Louis Board of Education in 1949. She was also the lead attorney for the landmark case Davis et al. v. the St. Louis Housing Authority with the NAACP, which ended the legal racial discrimination in public housing in St. Louis (Baker 4). Green paints Freeman directly onto a vacant house that represents the lasting impacts of racial discrimination in St. Louis housing, effectively etching her into the history of efforts to end this kind of institutional oppression, providing a reminder of the work that still needs to be done, and offering a role model for future movements. Like his other paintings of figures who have worked or are working for the government, Green’s mural of Frankie Muse Freeman features a partial American flag in the background. This simple additional detail symbolizes volumes. Although the United States government has historically, institutionally oppressed people of color, Green offers hope for redemption by depicting government workers like Freeman who have done monumental civil rights work. The flag also emphasizes the rightful position of powerful black women like Freeman in the government and the need for more representation of minorities in positions of power.

This point of interest is part of the tour: From Vacancy to Agency: St. Louis Murals of Redemption


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