New mural honors Columbia’s “Black Wall Street”

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Local artist I’ja Charles has painted her latest mural on the side of a city-owned building at 1401 Main Street. The mural pays homage to Columbia’s historic Black Wall Street, which was located along Washington Street in the pre-civil rights era.

“It has truly been an honor and a blessing to be given this opportunity to do something like this,” said Charles. “I just wanted us as a resident and the spirit of those who existed during that time to be all brought back to life.”

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony held to unveil the mural, USC History Professor Dr. Bobby Donaldson talked about the importance of Charles’ work to the future of Columbia.

I’ja Charles (holding red scissors) and city officials cut a ribbon to unveil a the new mural on the 1401 Main Street building.

“Paint the vision on the wall so that those who walk by may be educated, may be edified, may be inspired to run on to see what their life will be,” said USC History Professor Dr. Bobby Donaldson.

The mural is one of several recent projects by Charles to honor Black history in the Midlands. Other major projects include “Leap” on the side of the Richland Library Main Branch, the “Cayce Wonders” mural on State Street and a major art exhibit at the Columbia Metro Airport.

“I am looking forward to continuing to paint the town and

bring positive vibes on the canvas of our lives,” Charles said.

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