Walls of Prophecy and Protest
by Jeff W. Heubner
William Walker and the Roots of a Revolutionary Public Art Movement Chicago is home to more intact African American street murals from the 1970s and ’80s than any other U.S. city. Among Chicago’s greatest muralists is the legendary William “Bill” Walker (1927–2011), compared by art historians to Diego Rivera and called the most accomplished contemporary practitioner of the classical mural tradition. Though his art could not have been more public, Walker maintained a low profile during his working life and virtually withdrew from the public eye after his retirement in 1989. Author Jeff W. Huebner met Walker in 1990 and embarked on a series of insightful interviews that stretched over the next two decades. Those meetings and years of research form the basis of Walls of Prophecy and Protest, the story of Walker’s remarkable life and the movement that he inspired. Featuring forty-three color images of Walker’s work, most long since destroyed or painted over, this handsome edition reveals the artist who was the primary figure behind Chicago’s famed Wall of Respect and who created numerous murals that depicted African American historical figures, protested social injustice, and promoted love, respect, racial unity, and community change.