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Cloud of Witnesses

cloud of witnesses

The "Cloud of Witnesses" mural was painted in 2012 by Jon McDonald, an artist at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. The "witnesses" featured in the clouds comprise a small but diverse collection of individuals who sacrificed their lives during the Civil Rights Era. In their own, unique ways, these individuals paid the ultimate price on the long, difficult path to making the United States a more democratic and egalitarian society. As we delve into the stories behind each of the individuals and their untimely deaths, we uncover the realities of how the brutal nature of Jim Crow America touched all of society: from innocent children to active civil rights leaders and demonstrators; from the victims and their families to the perpetrators of these horrific crimes and the society that produced, encouraged, and protected the killers; from those who experienced the realities of Jim Crow firsthand to our society that continues to grapple with the effects and influence of Jim Crow today.

In the coming months, we will be releasing features that highlight the stories and impacts of each of the witnesses. These features will include both written accounts and videos. As the features are made available, you can click on the name or image of an individual and you will be taken to a page dedicated to him/her. Please continue to come back to learn about all of the witnesses and how their sacrifices helped to shape society.

Names of those pictured

Johnnie Mae Chappell, Michael Henry Schwerner, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Rev. James Reeb, Delano Herman Middleton, Samuel Ephesians Hammond Jr., Henry Ezekial Smith, Viola Gregg Liuzzo, Medgar Evers, Ben Chester White, Denise McNair, Adie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.