District 2 Councilmember Kwanza Hall will join members of the family of Hosea Williams on Thursday, September 21 at 10:30 a.m. to dedicate a new mural in Williams’ honor. Created by visual artist Fabian Williams, the fluorescent, glow-in-the-dark mural is installed at Studioplex on Airline Street NE in the Old Fourth Ward. The towering mural was completed in late July. It depicts Williams in his trademark overalls with his arms outstretched.
“This magnificent mural by Fabian Williams is inspiring Atlantans just as Hosea Williams did in his lifetime,” said Councilmember Hall. “It is wonderful to celebrate Hosea Williams through such a vibrant work of public art.”
Born in 1926 in Attapulgus, Georgia, Williams was a civil rights leader, ordained minister and founding president of the nonprofit organization known today as Hosea Helps. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and earned a Purple Heart. After returning from war, he was savagely beaten for drinking water from a “whites only” water fountain and hospitalized for more than a month. Williams became a champion for human rights following the attack, eventually joining the Southern Christian Leadership Conference along with Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Joseph Lowery, Andrew Young and many others. Williams played an important role in demonstrations that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1974, he was elected to the Georgia State Senate and served five terms as a Democrat until 1984. Williams served on the Atlanta City Council from 1985-1990 and as a DeKalb County Commissioner from 1990-1994.
“Fabian Williams and Studioplex have done a tremendous service for the City of Atlanta by creating this very contemporary image,” said Dr. Barbara Williams Emerson, Williams’ eldest daughter. “The mural delivers Hosea Williams and potentially his body of work to a generation of Atlantans who missed out on his leadership and don’t know his story of perseverance or his aggressive approach to activism, social responsibility, and politics. Now, this dynamic mural challenges them to learn and act. Who knows? It might spark a new group of Hosea followers. All they have to do is Google him or study his papers at the Auburn Avenue Research Library or join the work at Hosea Helps, the organization he started nearly 50 years ago. But first, he has to get on their radar. This mural does exactly that. Hosea Williams is back!”
The mural is on the south wall of the Studioplex parking deck on Airline Street between Auburn Avenue and Dekalb Avenue.