||Who Is Frankie Freeman?
Frankie Muse Freeman became a civil rights attorney back when it was an innovation. There had been numberless efforts to advance the cause and improve the lives of African Americans since reconstruction, but the civil rights movement (which was a national movement) was just getting started in the mid 1950s. Before the marches, church bombings and police attacks, African American lawyers chipped away at the corrupt legal system and practices that kept their people contained and away from anything that bordered on substantial political power. Controlling where African Americans lived was just one part of this sinister scheme. In 1955 Freeman led a team that won a case making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race in public housing in St. Louis. This was a meaningful victory, because people followed her example in other cities creating a domino effect. Many other legal battles followed as well. The civil rights movement would grind on for another 9 or 10 years before basic rights for African Americans were protected by federal law. So an African American elite soldier facing a tour in Viet Nam, could sit and eat lunch in his own country without consulting a list of where he dared to go. Freeman and a handful of formidable attorneys like her, were at the center of this long slog towards something that resembled a just system of laws. The Civil Rights Act was finally signed into law in 1964. The civil rights movement ended in the mid sixties, but the need for prime movers like Freeman continued. She was appointed by four presidents to serve on the US Commission on Civil Rights and still, at the age of 101, continues her stellar lifes work. Lately she has received a continuum of recognition including an appointment by President Obama in 2015, to the Commission On Presidential Scholars.
||Where is It?
The sculpture is permanently installed in Kiener Plaza, a park in downtown St. Louis, in it's northeastern corner, near the corner of Chestnut St. and N. Broadway
||How Big is It?
* It is a 6 foot tall figure standing on a 6 inch tall bronze base
* It is a traditional cast bronze sculpture
* It is "One of a kind", having no duplicate
* It was installed on Nov. 10th, 2017
* The commissioning agency was NAACP, St. Louis
* The Dedication was on Nov. 21st, 2017, whereupon it was given to the City of St. Louis
Hundreds attended the dedication of the sculpture on November 21st, 2017. The sculpture is near the center of the photograph above. The St. Louis chapter of the NAACP raised funds for the sculpture and commissioned Owens to design, sculpt and install it. It was given to the City of St. Louis during the dedication.
Frankie Muse Freeman, stylishly attired in a furry hat, is flanked by her daughter Shelby Freeman Bullock and former Washington University Chancellor Dr. William Danforth. Freeman and Danforth worked together on local and national projects to end racism.
Freeman addressed the crowd, saying "God bless St. Louis. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you, I love you. You've done so much for me."
Enjoy this image of the Dedication Program cover.
CLICK here to see the 4 page program in another window.
Links to Dedication Coverage
There was no shortage of journalists, photographers and videographers.
Enjoy the following links.
YouTube STL TV
The entire dedication is on the YouTube channel: STL TV
Frankie Freeman's daughter talks about her interaction with Owens at 9 min, 20 sec.
Running time: 54 min. Published Nov. 29, 2017
YouTube St. Louis Post-Dispatch
An overview of the dedication is on the YouTube channel: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Running time: 1 min, 21 sec. Published Nov. 22, 2017
YouTube NAACP - St. Louis, A Public Invitation
A behind-the-scenes look at the sculpture "in progress" on the YouTube channel: Logo Graphics DNA
Running time: 3 min, 11 sec. Published Nov. 3, 2017
St. Louis Public Radio
An article with great photos
Published Nov. 21, 2017
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Article with photos and an embedded video overview of the dedication.
Running time: 1 min, 20 sec. Published Nov. 21, 2017
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Embedded video overview of the dedication.
Running time: 1 min, 20 sec. Published Nov. 22, 2017
||An AUDIO PODCAST about this Design
Listen to another segment in Owens series about design.
This type of sculpture begins in the mind long before there is anything to see.
If everything begins with a thought, then what was Owens thinking?
PRESS TO PLAY!
What is MUSEUM WITHOUT WALLS?
This sculpture and podcast are included in Museum Without Walls powered by Culture NOW, an online catalog of public art and architecture in the US.
Now anyone can locate, identify or research this sculpture from anywhere, using their smartphone or computer, from a single database that does not depend on other web sites.