Martin Luther King Mural in Hamden Unveiled

Dorothy Johnson stands next to a portrait of her sister Lula White.

The unveiling of the Martin Luther King mural outside Miller Memorial Library, 2901 Dixwell Avenue, was held on Saturday, June 17, as the opening event of the Juneteenth Celebration.

RiseUP for Arts partnered with the Town of Hamden, local businesses, organizations, and community members in Hamden to create a large-scale public art mural in collaboration with artist Emida Roller on the Dixwell-facing side of Hamden’s Miller Memorial Library that celebrates the diversity and cultures of the community and highlights the messages of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hamden is the 16th town to produce an MLK39 Racial Equity Mural.

Each MLK39 Racial Equity Mural is inspired by the community. Hamden residents participated in a mural design survey that guided the mural design, and many took part in community volunteer paint days.

The mural celebrates the global legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his dedication to advancing civil rights. For more information about the statewide campaign visit:

Paula Panzarella photos

Others depicted on the mural are Hamden residents or people with deep ties with the town of Hamden who have passed on.

  • Mattie Mims, first African American woman elected to the Hamden Legislative Council
  • Rabbi Robert Goldburg, who invited Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to speak at Hamden’s Congregation Mishkan Israel
  • Samuel Augustus Jones, first African American career firefighter for Hamden
  • Beulah Jacobs, first African American to teach in Hamden Public Schools
  • Fred Parris, founder of the Five Satins and creator of the classic song “In the Still of the Night”
  • Barbara Welfare, first African American master’s credentialed librarian at the Whitneyville branch
  • Samuel William Jones, first African American police officer in Hamden
  • Lula Mae White, Freedom Rider who non-violently fought against the segregation laws in this country. In 1961, she spent two months in Parchman State Penitentiary for sitting in the “whites only” waiting room of the bus terminal.

Lula’s inclusion in the mural is especially heart-warming for many PAR readers who knew her and worked with her for many years. Lula was a New Haven schoolteacher for almost three decades and was arrested and jailed during the teachers’ strike of 1975; she took part in many protests against war and other injustices; she was an active member of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association (at the Sept. 10 GNHLHA annual meeting she was given a post-humous award); and worked with many progressive organizations, including the PAR newsletter (see

Also on the mural are the names of living individuals who are either firsts in their elected or district-appointed office, or have advanced the discussion of racial equity through literature.

You can see the news broadcast of the mural’s unveiling at

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