Perhaps the oldest surviving mural in Lansing was painted in 1993.
Willie and Orabe Fuller, owners of Shanora’s Beauty and Barber Supplies at 829 W. Saginaw St., wanted to introduce people to African Americans who had made a mark in history. Some would be recognized, others maybe not so much, but they’d spark interest.
The Fullers commissioned Mark Beard, a Detroit artist and Lansing native, to create a colorful mural on the building’s exterior wall. The mural would depict African American heroes, performers and athletes.
Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and others graced the wall.
“Mark’s mural was something to draw people to, to make people think,” Willie Fuller said. “When Mark did the mural, he wanted people to think about what they could be, by seeing these different people on the wall.”
Beard also painted a mural on the house adjacent to Shanora’s.
“On that mural there was a big quote that said ‘Think what you could be.’ It was a message to the young people. Some of the people that were on the wall you could relate to, recognize. But he wanted them to know, now you have to put yourself in their places. It’s your time to get on the wall. But you’ve got to do something.”
Eventually, the store’s mural began to fade, and, in 2008, NorthWest Initiative’s Westside Alliance Program along with Shanora’s, hosted a community day to help paint sections of the mural.
Artists, adults and children participated in painting the new mural, which includes former President Barack Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Tiger Woods, Hillary Clinton and others.