Hostelling International Chicago

Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Mural Competition

2008 Gallery

1st Place Prize Winner

Awarded $300 Southwest Airlines voucher and 3 nights’ accommodation at Hostelling International San Francisco, Downtown


Kathy Moore, Northeastern Illinois University, ’08

In my version of the “Until Justice Rolls Down Like Waters” mural honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, I tried to create a graphic representation of historical photographs that mark the march in Washington, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Civil Rights speeches and marches in which Dr. King was one of the contributing leaders. The waters are rolling out of his hands and giving life to such events. At the bottom, there is a silhouetted image of children playing. They are equal in all respects. They are holding hands and united as one group regardless of color or race. They are the future and the ones who will carry on what they are taught today.

2nd Place Prize Winner

Awarded Van Galder transportation voucher and 2 nights’ accommodation at Hostelling International Madison


Allison Havens, Macalester College, ’04

The center panel of the mural is a portrait of Dr. King as a prisoner in Birmingham jail, with three other prisoners. Hamedah Hasan is currently serving 27 years for her minor role in a cousin’s drug ring. She moved in with her cousin to flee an abusive relationship; in return for staying with him, she had to help with small drug errands. With little information to trade with prosecutors, she was given more time than the group leaders even though she had no prior criminal record. Stanley Howard, a current anti-death penalty advocate, is a former death row inmate. He was pardoned after the notorious Burge police torture case, where evidence showed that Chicago Police officers used torture to gain false confessions from 12 black men. The hooded prisoner represents the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and other prisons. The detainees are held uncharged and subjected to torture and harsh interrogation tactics without hope of a fair trial or access to basic civil and human rights.

3rd Place Prize Winner

Awarded $50 voucher to Utrecht Art Supply


Jennifer Casselberry, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ’07

The inspiration for this painting came from the idea of connection between all who fight for justice throughout history. None of us makes a difference on our own, but only through connecting with the past and the future. Dr. Martin Luther King touches the shoulder of Mayor Harold Washington, who touches the should of one of today’s youth from the west side of Chicago. The scenes beside the figures depict areas of injustice that each fights: national civil rights, local political inequality, and youth violence and the prison system. These scenes are set against the backdrop of the Black Liberation Flag, a symbol of pride and unity. As the youth in the painting looks at us, inviting us to continue the work of Dr. King, we remember his words, “No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied, until justice rolls down like waters.”


Jared Carpenter, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ’08

In the top panel I have two plots – one with Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memorial slab and another of a man with no message indicated by no words. In the background there are buildings with integrated windows portraying MLK’s dream and justice coming to realization. In the second window I have rectangles used as symbols of past foundation of racism being buried and forgotten. As these blocks of damaged views sink further into a forgotten tomb, MLK’s words are becoming more alive. In the third window, two coffins, one of the forgotten unspoken individual as dead as can be and then MLK rising up through the past injustices into the realized justice of the future. I have also included a faint reflection of society in the bottom window to indicate the time he lived and died, in contrast to the world that is the present where his ideal has taken shape.

The Grey Area

Reed W. Kirst, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ’09

The conceptual approach to my mural is both figurative and abstract. Starting from the bottom corner is a picture representing young Dr. King at a school desk, studying and thinking about his goals, aspirations, and “dreams.” Dr. King was a very astute student and was admitted to Morehouse College at age 15. He also attended Crozer Theological Seminary and received his doctorate from Boston University. Next to this representative picture is another that symbolizes the state Alabama, where King settled to begin his career. One of the more important parts of Dr. King’s legacy was his solidarity during the Rosa Parks bus incident, for which he was the official spokesman. This is also represented abstractly in the mural. Next to the bust is a picture of a jail that symbolizes King’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Other figures in the mural are Mohandas Gandhi and Pres. Kennedy, who played major roles in King’s life. At the top of the mural, Dr. King’s expression is meant to be one of discomfort and struggle, which is what he had to face for much of his life. The mural is also somewhat abstractly painted with colors of black, white and shades of grey. This is meant to show the conflicting arguments and deep-seated issues involved with civil rights.


Ricardo Navarro, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ’10

I used technology and machinery to represent justice because I find them to be very similar. There is a huge scale on the background with machinery falling from it in liquid form. A man and a boy sitting on top of justice as if talking to each other and looking forward. That is what I think justice is for, always to move forward and give the world a better future.

We Have a Dream

Mun Jung Chang Park, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ’08

Martin Luther King was an untiring defender of our human rights. He always fought for the interests of those smaller than himself. Dream that one day all Black boys and girls and the White boys and girls would walk together as brother and sister. This will be when all the children of God will be able to sing the song with new meaning: “My country / tis of thee / sweet land of liberty / of thee I sing / land where my fathers died / land of the Pilgrims pride / from every mountainside / let freedom ring.”

I reflect the pure soul of our dream for liberty: the voice of the most innocent. We are responsible and are the protectors of their future. Like educators, we must support them and show them a more just world. I lift the voices of the children. My work contains the energy to work for them. Together we can do it!


Carla Paynter, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ’08

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered 28 August, 1963

This segment of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech gives me chills and goose bumps. A day where people judge one another based purely on the content of their character will be a magical and powerful day indeed. My goal for the mural is to supplement these MLK words with colorful, ornate and whimsical patterning. These patterned designs won’t be directly associated with any race or gender, they will be painted with their characteristics in mind, and hopefully they will be viewed and judged based on the content of their character as well.


Kaitlynn Radloff, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ’10

The power of organization has time and time again been the thing that proves itself useful in the effort to create change. This country was build up by mass movements. Many times these motions were undermined by the loss of a great figurehead, a charismatic leader, and individual. We must realize that we are together in the struggle and all must put forth an effort to create change. We must realize that we are able to carry on, for we are all leaders moving forward to the same cause, though our fights may be different. This cause is a positive, sustainable, and equal world for all people to truly live. To accomplish this we must leave no one behind and at the same time, push no one forward.

We must work together in uniting the many to defeat the few.


Jessica Tam, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, ’07

Both Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, left us a great legacy. In my mural, I wanted to show their joint efforts in championing equality and their tireless work that would continue today through others, “until justice rolls down like waters.” For instance, even after Dr. King’s assassination, Mrs. King continued to speak out for women’s rights, GLBT rights, economic issues, and world peace. Their commitment to the civil rights movement and a kind and humane society now rains upon us in joyful storms.

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