Mural in North Charleston highlights African American feminine civil rights leaders | Information

NORTH CHARLESTON – It’s a bright spot on the south end of town that highlights the Lowcountry’s civil rights activists.

A new mural hopes to cause a stir in the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood, a community with a history of criminal activity but also a community where residents have worked to create a safer environment.

“This neighborhood needs some tender love and care,” said mural painter Janeva Tyree.


Janeva Tyree is collecting painting supplies for a mural in North Charleston on Saturday, May 1, 2021, celebrating Charleston’s African American civil rights activists on the Revel Time Ministry wall along Rivers Avenue. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

The artwork is the latest project from Tyree, a Charlotte-based artist.

The work on the side of the Revel Time Ministry church building at 3320 Rivers Ave. is a colorful piece that highlights six African American civil rights activists from the Charleston area.

Adorned with capes, the women are shown flying and showing superhero-like powers.

“They are real superheroes,” said Tyree. “So I made them superwomen.”


Janeva Tyree is working on a mural celebrating Charleston’s African American civil rights activists on the Revel Time Ministry wall along Rivers Avenue in North Charleston on Saturday May 1, 2021. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

The painting contains plaques that contain information about each figure. The mural also includes images of well-known Lowcountry symbols such as Charleston’s Rainbow Row and the 1966 Volkswagen Microbus used by Esau and Janie Jenkins.

One purpose of art is to educate people about black history.

Maria Reyes is State Director for Care in Action, a nonprofit that helps women of color who are domestic workers.

The North Charleston painting is part of a larger initiative by Reyes to create murals that promote African American women and their role in civil rights struggles.

New murals are a sign of life in efforts to revitalize Reynolds Avenue in North Charleston

Black women have been marginalized and their story isn’t often shared, Reyes said.

“I didn’t find out who Septima Clark was until I was in my 30s,” Reyes said, noting that she didn’t study the monumental civil rights activist and public school educator in South Carolina.

Inspired by Tyree’s work on a Black Lives Matter mural in Florence, Reyes asked the artist to do a mural in Columbia featuring prominent African American leaders like educator Mary McCleod Bethune.

The six figures in the North Charleston painting are:

  • Mary Jackson: An artist best known for her Sweetgrass basket weaving.
  • Anna DeCosta Banks: A nursing pioneer who ran the Charleston hospital and nursing training school. (A wing at the Medical University of South Carolina bears her name.)
  • Alice Childress: A writer and playwright who published plays for four decades.
  • Lucille Simmons Whipper: In 1985 she was the first African-American woman to serve as the elected civil servant from the tri-border region.
  • Septima Poinsette Clark: Known as the “Queen Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” she helped set up schools in the south that taught blacks to read.
  • Bernice Robinson: She worked with Septima Clark and Esau Jenkins to teach blacks to read and also to register African Americans to vote during the civil rights movement.


Janeva Tyree is using an elevator to paint a mural on the Revel Time Ministry wall along Rivers Avenue in North Charleston on Saturday, May 1, 2021, celebrating Charleston’s African American civil rights activists. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

The location of the bright acrylic painting is intentional. The Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood of North Charleston, a historic parish, is struggling with crime. Many in the neighborhood and surrounding communities live in poverty.

“These are the people who have to see something positive every day,” Reyes said.

Revel Time Ministry apostle Darlene Fobbs, who said the church has been in this location for 11 years, has witnessed the neighborhood’s troubles.

Fobbs said the inspirational image on the church building will help create a more positive environment.

“It will change the atmosphere,” she said. “Colors can brighten a place.”

The work, which is also intended to encourage girls, has already had an impact. Several children stopped to look at the painting, Tyree said.

“It melts my heart,” she said.

Reyes said it was important for women to know that they can make their dreams come true.

“It should be normal for all young black girls (black women) to see power in any place,” Reyes said. “Don’t just cook the food and change your diapers.”

SCDOT will transfer ownership of portions of Reynolds, Spruill Avenue to North Charleston

To reach Rickey Dennis at 937-4886. Follow him on Twitter @RCDJunior.

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