We Are Revolutionaries: The Wall of Respect and Chicago's Mural Movement

April 21 - June 18, 2017
Katz Gallery

In 1967, the Organization of Black American Culture painted a huge mural “guerrilla-style” on the wall of a decaying building on the South Side of Chicago. They called it the Wall of Respect. This mural, which grew out of the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s, was controversial from the start and only survived a few years—but in that time it inspired a community movement that went on to paint vivid colors on walls across the city and beyond. The Wall of Respect’s 50th anniversary is 2017, and many events in the Chicago area will commemorate it this coming year. Using photographs and documents relating to the Wall of Respect and other murals, this exhibition explores the mural movement in Chicago in its historical context, investigating how race and class have intersected with the spatial politics of the city.  

This exhibition is collectively curated by students in the Department of Art History first year seminar, taught by Rebecca Zorach, Mary Jane Crowe Professor in Art and Art History.


Explore the Chicago Mural Movement

Northwestern's Media and Design Studio

This website identifies key landmarks of the Chicago Mural Movement of the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s and showcases student-produced digital StoryMap Narratives that expand upon the information that can be presented in the physical exhibition.  The Chicago Mural movement website was produced in connection with the exhibition "We Are Revolutionaries: The Wall of Respect and Chicago's Mural Movement," which includes contributions by students, staff, and faculty.  Students worked on the exhibition and story maps in a Winter 2017 first-year undergraduate seminar, "The Wall of Respect and Chicago's Mural Movement."

map1 map2


Image: Robert Abbott "Bobby" Sengstacke, Untitled, Chicago, Wall of Respect, 43rd and Langley, [detail] (c.1970), Courtesy of The Sengstacke Archive, University of Chicago and Getty Images.