Our Freedom Story Mural

Great American Rail-Trail

Arts, Entertainment & Sports Black History Politics, Policy & Justice

Two third grade students from Mrs. Smith’s class at Lowell Elementary School working on the mural in 2019.

Photo courtesy of Youth Art Team

Located along the Cedar River at the Waterloo Center for the Arts, the Our Freedom Story mural in Waterloo depicts the history of the civil rights movement in the city. The 3,000-square-feet-plus mural is a collaborative effort between an organization called the Youth Art Team (YAT) and 150 3rd graders from Lowell Elementary and Kingsley Elementary. Before starting their design, the students interviewed about 25 Waterloo citizens who lived through and were a part of the civil rights movement in the city. Afterward, students were encouraged to use shapes, lines and colors to express their feelings about the events that occurred during the Civil Rights era, and the YAT then took their artwork and created one cohesive mural. In total, the project took more than 2,000 hours.


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Discovering America: Reconnecting People and Places

The Great American Rail-Trail promises an all-new American experience. Through 12 states and the District of Columbia, the trail will directly serve nearly 50 million people within 50 miles of the route. Across the nation—and the world—only the limits of imagination will limit its use.

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