Created in 1970 by a group of seven African American art students at UCLA, The Black Experience Mural captures the essence of an era defined by social unrest and a struggle for racial equality. In 1992 Panda Express, which owns a restaurant next to the mural, constructed a false wall which kept it hidden from the view of the students for 20 years.
The mural was brought to the attention of the University’s Associated Students Board of Directors in 2012 and the body sanctioned the restoration process which got underway in December of the same year led by UCLA’s Afrikan Student Union. The reparative effort was finally completed recently and the mural once again unveiled.
Among the original seven which created the mural was graphic artist and photographer Neville Garrick, famous for his work with Bob Marley. Garrick sees the initiative as crucial in rebuilding the connection between the youth and their heritage, quoting the great Marcus Garvey “A people without knowledge of their past, history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” The mural features the likes of Angela Davis, Huey Newton, George William Carver, Harriet Tubman among other champions of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s and 70’s.
Written by: Learie Holt